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National Science Center van comes to Hatfield Elementary

  • Brett Gratz, a  6th grader at Hatfield Elementary, reacts after touch a static electricity ball that lets out a small shock during a visit from The National Science Center which was there teaching them about electricity and how it travels around the human body. <br/><br/>

    Brett Gratz, a 6th grader at Hatfield Elementary, reacts after touch a static electricity ball that lets out a small shock during a visit from The National Science Center which was there teaching them about electricity and how it travels around the human body.

    Purchase photo reprints »

  • David Pelis JR., a 6th grader at Hatfield Elementary school learns about magnets during a visit from the The National Science Center Monday afternoon.

    David Pelis JR., a 6th grader at Hatfield Elementary school learns about magnets during a visit from the The National Science Center Monday afternoon. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Front right, Rich Cadwell of Education Services Specialist, works with, sitting, Grace McAuley-McDonald,  Left front Casey Shaw-Merrigan back left Hollis Toney and right back Sam Dadmun, all 6th graders at Hatfield Elementary, teaching them about electricity and how it travels around the human body. <br/>

    Front right, Rich Cadwell of Education Services Specialist, works with, sitting, Grace McAuley-McDonald, Left front Casey Shaw-Merrigan back left Hollis Toney and right back Sam Dadmun, all 6th graders at Hatfield Elementary, teaching them about electricity and how it travels around the human body.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Margaret Pomery,a  6th grader at Hatfield Elementary, reaches in to touch a static electricity ball that lets out a small shock during a visit from The National Science Center which was there teaching them about electricity and how it travels around the human body. <br/>

    Margaret Pomery,a 6th grader at Hatfield Elementary, reaches in to touch a static electricity ball that lets out a small shock during a visit from The National Science Center which was there teaching them about electricity and how it travels around the human body.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Brett Gratz, a  6th grader at Hatfield Elementary, reacts after touch a static electricity ball that lets out a small shock during a visit from The National Science Center which was there teaching them about electricity and how it travels around the human body. <br/><br/>
  • David Pelis JR., a 6th grader at Hatfield Elementary school learns about magnets during a visit from the The National Science Center Monday afternoon.
  • Front right, Rich Cadwell of Education Services Specialist, works with, sitting, Grace McAuley-McDonald,  Left front Casey Shaw-Merrigan back left Hollis Toney and right back Sam Dadmun, all 6th graders at Hatfield Elementary, teaching them about electricity and how it travels around the human body. <br/>
  • Margaret Pomery,a  6th grader at Hatfield Elementary, reaches in to touch a static electricity ball that lets out a small shock during a visit from The National Science Center which was there teaching them about electricity and how it travels around the human body. <br/>

“We surprised them with this just before coming out here this morning,” fourth-grade teacher Audrey Weston said. “They are very excited to be here.”

School Principal Jennifer Chapin said that the school had been on a waiting list for two years to participate in the free Mobile Discovery Center program, which dispenses two vans to schools nationwide with the aim of promoting science to students.

Education Service Specialist Richard Cardwell and Army Sgt. First Class Steve Navarro staffed the mobile unit.

“This is a collaboration between the National Science Center and the Army. Our goal is to get kids excited about science,” Navarro said. “We have two vans like this that travel all over the country providing presentations for elementary and middle schools.”

Throughout the day, classes took turns visiting the van.

Weston’s students enthusiastically clambered into the mobile classroom and took their seats. Many were immediately interested in the large ball mounted on a pedestal in the front of the room. In a later demonstration on static electricity, they would discover that this was a Van de Graaff generator and when touched, it would make their hair stand on end.

“That stuff on the static electricity was my favorite part,” said 9-year-old Owen Whidden.

An interactive Power Point presentation on the workings of human eyes and ears set the stage for demonstrations on how we see color and how sound waves travel.

In one demonstration, Cardwell set up a small pane of glass covering a Plexiglas box. By passing sound waves under the glass, the students could see how the glass reacted to different frequencies, vibrating, bending and eventually shattering to pieces.

“I liked the part on eyes and how we can see colors,” said 10-year-old Christian Kroll. “But the part with the breaking glass, that was really good too.”

“We had a great time. It was very hands on and the kids really enjoyed themselves,” said fourth-grade teacher Christopher Bailey.

Stationed out of Fort Knox, Navarro said he and Cardwell were taking the mobile unit to Pittsfield before returning home.

“I went out for a little bit in it and I thought it was just great,” Chapin said. “The kids loved it. To them it was like going to the science museum in Boston.”

Before one group left the unit, Navarro lead them in a bit of call and response.

“Finish this sentence for me,” he said, “Science is ...”

The students shouted out in unison, “Awesome!”

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