On March 31, 2011 more than 500 students and parents attended the fourth annual, district-wide Science Night at Plainwell Middle School. The event was a great success! More than seventy students presented their scientific work in the form of science fair projects, research posters, and artwork. Additionally, twenty-four local and community groups brought science to the fingertips of kids of all ages through informational booth and hands-on activities. Several organizations brought live animals, including The Kalamazoo Nature Center, which brought an American Kestrel, Binder Park Zoo with a red-tailed hawk and box turtle (both Michigan natives), and the DNR Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, which brought a lake sturgeon. Additionally, the Kalamazoo bee club had lives bees on display as they taught kids and parents alike about the importance of bees and the art of bee-keeping. Science topics at the event ranged from biology and ecology to physics and chemistry. In one corner, Jerry Pahl of the Kalamazoo Air Zoo used his magnetic gun and coil cannon to ‘shoot’ with metal objects, demonstrating the physics of electromagnetism. In another corner, Western Michigan University’s Chemistry club made sparkly silly putty with kids using simple chemical reactions. Iurii Shcherbak and myself, Kali Bird, both Michigan State University graduate students and GK-12 fellows, worked together with Plainwell Community Schools’ teachers and staff to coordinate the event. We would particularly like to thank Sandy Breitenbach, Marty Green, Lisa Winiger, Lisa Smith, and Paul deMink, as well as the thirty-five enthusiastic and tireless elementary, middle, and high-school students who volunteered their help for the evening. If you weren’t able to come this year, be sure to watch for next year’s event in March 2012!
By GK-12 Fellow Kali Bird