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A night dedicated to science

Families, students enjoy sixth annual Science Night at Legacy Christian Academy

Posted: November 16, 2009 10:11 p.m.
Updated: November 17, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Julia Yellen, a second-grader at Legacy Christian Academy, focuses on building a strong, tall base which successfully holds a cup with numerous weights.

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Expansive bubbles were blown, objects were flung through the air with wild abandon, tables were cluttered with all manner and colors of goop and substances - and it was all done in the name of science, under the watchful eyes of school officials.

On Oct. 26, Legacy Christian Academy students and parents attended Legacy Science Night, an after-hours event of hands-on experiments designed to engage young minds. The event is staged twice a year.

The Johnson family showed up because their son, Zachary, has displayed keen interest in science.

"They're learning a variety of things without knowing that they are actually learning anything," said Zachary's father, Jerry Johnson.
First-grader Zachary's response: "This is awesome!"

The trick-them-into-learning aspect of the night pervaded the rooms of Science Night. More like a carnival than a classroom, Legacy Science Night was overseen by kindergarten through fifth-grade science teacher Kelly Duffy.

"Here at Legacy our science is based on inquiry," Duffy said. "We don't read a textbook. Instead it's about finding out hands-on."
The night featured six stations, all based around physical science concepts.

For one, there was "Bubbleology" - a table covered in soapy water at which participants were given straws and told to measure the biggest bubble they could blow.

The end result taught students about lung capacity. But Zachary seemingly learned a new way to have fun at home.

"So far, I learned that if you put some of this stuff and then take a straw and set it on the table and blow it, it makes a bubble," he said.

"Zachary is having a very good time," said Zachary's mother, Maria, with a laugh. "He's learning a lot of different things. It's good to see through the eyes of a first-grader."

Older students volunteered to lead the stations and provide helping hands to those who might need it.

Sixth-grader Zoey Zhu educated attendees on some basic principles of aerodynamics at a station called "Hoopsters." Strips of paper, bent into circles, were taped to straws, thus changing the airflow around the object and creating make-shift airplanes.

"It seems like a very simple but fun section," he said. "If you laugh, you learn better. I think it's a really good learning environment."

At "Invincible Balloon," with the aid of a latex solution, families were tasked with skewering a balloon without it popping.

Kelli and Doug Greiner teamed up with children Kaitlin, 8, and Kyle, 5, to carefully pierce the balloon's fragile shell.

Kelli noted that Science Night allowed her kids to see that learning doesn't stop when the school day ends.

"It's a good family event and a good learning event," she said. "You can learn with your parents, not just at school."

Other stations included "Kitchen Chemistry," which showed how household chemicals react with one another; "Thumb's Up," which taught kids that all fingerprints are unique; and "Nuudles," at which families were asked to combine small, sticky sponges into a freestanding structure.

"It's all about engineering. It's like building a skyscraper out of sponges," said Matt Pearson, who attended the event with his son, first-grader Andrew. "I think education is 80 percent parents and 20 percent books and structure. I think if you're not involved with your kids, they're not going to flourish."

Like many children there, Andrew Pearson enjoyed making the wingless airplanes and exuberantly estimated that his flew "a million feet."

"I like these airplanes because they fly very good," he said.

But some facts did sink in for the Valencia boy.

"I learned that all fingerprints are different," Andrew said. "Even twin fingerprints are different."

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