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'Applying science to real-life fun'

Cary Ashby • Feb 25, 2017 at 4:00 PM

Put an Alka-Seltzer tablet into a closed film canister with water. And see what happens.

No, it’s not a prank. 

Try to get a Hershey’s Kiss from sitting on top of a small hoop into the bottom of a beaker. But you only can touch the hoop.

And neither is that one. They were hands-on experiences offered Friday morning by Imagination Station at the St. Paul Social Hall.

STEM education associate Cameron Lightfoot, when getting volunteers from Norwalk Catholic School, said he needed someone with talented karate skills to do the Hershey’s Kiss trick. Fifth-grader Alexa Shella said she learned the candy “hangs in the air for a split second and then goes down.”

Bowen Olcott assisted with the Alka-Seltzer experiment.

“The gas rose and it didn’t have anywhere to go,” he said.

So the expanding gas sent the container toward the ceiling and the lid toward the floor. 

Students in Lynette Ware and Amy Weisenberger’s classes have been studying the forces of motion in their science classes. The Imagination Station experience — based on Sir Isaac Netwon’s three laws of motion — was funded by a grant from The Fund for Huron County written by the NCS fifth-grade teachers.

Lightfoot asked the students if they thought a golf ball or baseball would hit the ground first if he dropped them at the same time. Despite the differences in their size and mass, they reached the floor of the social hall simultaneously.

Explaining the science, Lightfoot said gravity pulls both balls with the same amount of force.

But two pieces of flat paper towels fluttered to the floor at different times. 

“The air molecules are knocking them around a bit,” Lightfoot told the students.

To further test Newton’s three laws of motion, the children created roller coasters using a marble, pipe insulation and tape.

“You have to have a loop and a hill,” Vivica Jordan said. “There’s a cup at the end to catch (the marble).”

Then the students attempted to get the marble to run through the track.

Ware, one of the teachers, said she wants her students to realize the next time they go to Cedar Point there is science involved in creating roller coasters.

“It’s a way of applying science to real-life fun,” she added.

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