Event lets students teach experiments

Published on Friday, 15 May 2015 23:00 - Written by Betty Waters, blw@tylerpaper.com

MINEOLA — High school science students played teacher on Friday, presenting their favorite science projects to elementary and primary students in what was billed as a “science extravaganza.”

“I saw lots and lots of scientific things that I like,” Diani Gutierrez, a fourth-grader at Mineola Elementary School, said, adding she might try doing some of the experiments at home.

“I learned a sling shot goes farther when you put more pressure on it,” she said.

Austin Anderson, a 10th-grade presenter at Mineola High School, said the second- through fifth-graders who attended the show inside and outside the gymnasium were full of energy.

Anderson’s project was a thermal camera.

“You point it at a cold object or a hot object. If it’s hot, it shows up red; if it’s cold, it shows up blue,” Anderson said. “It’s what the military use in combat. It’s what helicopters use when searching for people.”

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Deborah Armstrong, high school physics, engineering and robotics teacher, started the science show about 10 years ago, because she said she thought her students’ projects should be presented to everyone.

“I want my students to see what it’s like to be the teacher. I think they learn a lot more on that end, and I want the second- through fifth-graders to realize how exciting science is,” Ms. Armstrong said.

She expressed hope that the younger students will be motivated to enroll in science in high school.

“I think the high school kids do a great job; they get down on the kids’ level,” elementary school principal Jeni Massey said.

The science show gives the younger students actual life experiences, makes science accessible to them and lets them know that it is fun, not just something in a textbook, Ms. Massey said. The show featured “some amazing things,” she observed.

Science projects displays ranged from fuel rockets and water rockets to robotics and a petting zoo, from a vacuum air cannon and a wind tunnel to a cotton candy machine and a magic show, making smoke rings and a laser show.

Second-grader Briana Palacios said she learned about magnets and that a vacuum sucks air out; third-grader Kennedi Elmore learned about black lights and how to make pancakes from scratch; and third-grader Alejandro Reyes learned about laser light shows and smoke circles. 

Although the lessons were varied, many agreed they also learned science is fun. Luz Tinaero, a fifth grader, said the science show was “really exciting.”

At the petting zoo, Mallori White, an 11th-grader, explained the biology of animals. Children saw hermit crabs and got to pet ducks, a hedgehog, kittens, a bunny and other creatures.

“We were teaching them (the younger children) where these animals come from, their climate, their environment, their class in the animal kingdom,” Selina Jaimes, a junior who helped present the petting zoo, said.