Out of four science experiments demonstrated by Creative Learning Alliance volunteers Wednesday morning to students at Stapleton Elementary School, the one involving a rocket seemed to be the biggest hit.
“My favorite experiment was the rocket experiment because rockets do have a lot of weight, but they also go up because they have a boost in their rocket,” said fifth grader Tamaryn Davis-Smith after she watched the demonstrations. “I think it was fun and very entertaining, and it taught us some things we didn’t know about.”
“I just think it’s really neat how rockets go up and how they were able to kind of give us an example of how it goes,” added fifth grader Caleb Jasper.
The presentations by Lori Good and Kara Arnce took place Wednesday morning at Stapleton. Students from the second through fifth grades got a chance to see a 20-minute presentation about science.
Good and Arnce presented four experiments on stage that demonstrated a variety of fields:
• A pendulum wave that demonstrates how swinging balls can form patterns when swung from different lengths of chain.
• A demonstration of how a chemical solution changes color when exposed to acids and bases.
• An experiment demonstrating aerodynamics with a small rocket-launching system that uses compressed air.
• A demonstration showing how a bag with more surface area makes a better parachute.
First of many?
Good said this was the first of what she hopes are many traveling demonstrations presented by the alliance in Joplin schools.
“Kara did exploration day last year, but this is the first time we’ve started actually traveling out to a school,” Good said. “This was the first time, right here. If word gets out and people like us, then maybe we can do more. I hope we can. We are very proud of the exhibits we’ve built. Kara and I are the exhibit builders, along with our husbands.”
Good said the goal is to get kids excited about science and get them thinking about science as fun.
“We want them to be fired up and see the possibilities,” Good said. “A lot of our population maybe hasn’t gotten to travel quite as much and see as much. We want them to know there’s a world of possibilities out there in careers. We are just psyched about science; otherwise, we wouldn’t have the kids shout, ‘We love science.’”
Karen Robertson, a Title I teacher at Stapleton, had heard of the Creative Learning Alliance and worked with Neely Myers, project coordinator with the organization that has a center at 905 S. Main St. in Joplin, to put on Wednesday’s event.
“We wanted to find out if they are taking their science museum on the road, if they have exhibits they can bring to our kids,” Robertson said. “Some of our kids may not be able to go to that location, so they brought some of their exhibits and some of their science experiments to show our kids how science is fun.”
Robertson said the program is a great supplement to the daily education children receive.
“The kids are loving it,” Robertson said. “As classroom teachers, we don’t always have the ability to do things like this with our students, especially at the elementary level. It’s a little bit of time to give all the kids a little bit of a taste of what they can do at the Creative Learning Alliance. Each grade got about 20 minutes to see the experiments.”
Landon Coyne, a fifth grader, said he learned a lot Wednesday and that he’d definitely like to see Joplin build a science center like the ones in Tulsa and St. Louis.
“It seems very cool because that means anyone can go there anytime,” Coyne said. “They wouldn’t have to wait forever just to do something that they can’t do otherwise. A lot of people who can’t go out of town will get to learn stuff.”
Good said she and Arnce loved their first presentation at a Joplin school. They were able to feed off the energy of the students as they reacted to the results of each experience.
“It’s energizing to work with kids,” Good said. “My favorite part, we get all of our energy from working the events, from talking to kids and watching them. When you see a kid go ‘ohhh’ with something you’ve built, that’s the best thing ever. You just get really excited about it.”
Arnce said the event introduces kids to the alliance’s Creativity Lab and hopefully they’ll go home and tell their parents how much fun it was.
“I want people to know that we have a little science lab here in Joplin,” she said. “That it’s something they can come to because the more people who come to our events, the more obvious it is that it’s something that’s needed in Joplin. We know it’s needed, but we need numbers to prove to different people that it’s needed.”