Sango Elementary students become scientists of the day at Austin Peay
What is a scientist?
That’s the question Dr. Karen Meisch, interim dean of Austin Peay’s College of STEM, and her team answered this week with 140 Sango Elementary first-graders, who visited campus May 9 for a morning of scientific demonstrations.
The students rotated through four classrooms, each exploring varying themes of science.
In one classroom, Bryan Gaither and several APSU physics students demonstrated the wonders of science.
One physics student, Jo Lynn Tyner, demonstrated how magnetic fields affect metals.
“It’s not magic, it’s science,” Tyner said.
Learning the effects of force
Gaither capped off the battery of physics demonstrations by heating a hydrogen-filled balloon until it exploded.
In another classroom, Dr. Lisa Sullivan, chair of the chemistry department at Austin Peay, brewed slime with the scientists.
“It looks like a jewel!” one of the young scientists said.
In her classroom, Meisch demonstrated friction and force and ushered the scientists through the scientific method.
Learning the effects of magnetism
Does a wood block move farther when struck by a golf ball rolled from various heights? The young scientists formed groups, each member filling a role in the experiment.
While Meisch guided the students, they arrived at their conclusions through their own observations.
The students also toured the galaxy with Dr. Spencer Buckner, a professor in the Department of Physics, Engineering and Astronomy.
The team of young scientists ended their field trip by making ice cream with Sullivan. They used liquid nitrogen to shock freeze the concoction.
“We’re going to make ice cream like scientists make ice cream,” Sullivan said.
As the student volunteers passed out the frozen treat, Gaither asked, “Who wants to be a scientist?”
All the students threw up their hands in affirmation.
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