And nothing even exploded
Midland staff, volunteers had to learn fast for Science Day

       Tie-dyed milk. Fruit batteries. Gumdrop towers.

LEFT: Fourth-grade teacher Jessica Carlyle leads a group of fifth-graders in an experiment on “fruit batteries” Jan. 30 during the all-school Science Day at Midland Elementary.
RIGHT: Don Holliday, who volunteers daily at Midland Elementary as a District 11 “Grandfriend,” leads a group of third-graders in the gumdrop towers experiment.
Westside Pioneer photos

       These were a few of the experiments involving Midland Elementary staff, volunteers and students as they immersed themselves in science Jan. 30.
       The school's first-ever “Science Day” used materials and techniques gathered from Cool Science, a Colorado Springs non-profit that provides demonstrations, workshops, exhibits and camps intended to make science fun for kids.
       “The children loved it,” said Brenda Holmes-Stanciu, a kindergarten teacher who led the planning for the event. “We'd like to do it again next year, but we'll have to do different experiments.”
       The entire student body (about 150) participated, with a special schedule so that youngsters in each of the grades (K-5) got to spend about 45 minutes at each science station. Even kids with behavioral issues did well, Holmes observed, because the “hands-on” activities kept everyone focused and involved.
       What made the Midland day unusual was that school people ran the experiments. Normally, Cool Science sends its staff and volunteers to schools, but Midland's budget wasn't big enough for that, Holmes said. After some discussion, Cool Science agreed to a more affordable arrangement in which it trained a dozen Midland teachers and volunteers in how to perform certain experiments and present them.
       “I think everyone had a good time, and while these events are always just a bit chaotic at times, it went very well,” said Cool Science President Marc Straub. “We are already planning ways to improve on this model and try it again soon at another school.”
       Holmes said the event was tied with the school's International Baccalaureate (IB) format, which encourages children to ask 'Why, what if and how come?”
       All in all, “I think the students were enthused,” she said. “They want to do more because they see what can happen.”

Parent volunteer Lisa Lynch explains the tie-dyed milk experiment.
Westside Pioneer photo

       They'll get their chance. Kids were sent home with procedures for experiments they can try.. such as the floating, diving paper clip; Alka-Seltzer/film canister rockets; and “unsociable liquids.”

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