Goshen News, Goshen, IN

February 11, 2013

Hands-on and tasty science in Shipshewana

By DL PERRIN
THE GOSHEN NEWS

SHIPSHEWANA — The tiny gym at the Shipshewana-Scott Elementary school was filled Thursday night with the sound of children running and laughing while their parents attempted to round them up and guide them around the many tables across the floor.

It was the 11th annual Science Central exhibition.

Principal Ian Zuercher has been hosting this event since he began working at the school.

“Science Central is a great hands-on, children’s science  museum in Fort Wayne,” he said. “They have these traveling exhibits. They provide the experiment’s supplies plus free passes to their museum.”

Zuercher provides students from Goshen College to man the demonstration tables.

“It is a wonderful event, a lot of work but a wonderful event for the students to get involved in science,” he said.

By far the most popular demonstration was the baking soda, rocket launchers along the gym wall. As the children stomped on air bags, the “rocket fuel” launched the hollow tubes more than 30 feet, up into the ceiling of the gym. The boys loved chasing and catching them on their descent then running them back to the “launching” pad to be launched once again.

Smiling while gently explaining the science behind her experiment was Emily Watts. She is a junior at Goshen College. Emily was one of 17 students who manned the Science Central exhibit tables at the event.

“This is my first time and it is really fun,” she said as she wiped up a water spill from an experiment. “The children are really interested and just jump right into the process.”

Emily was demonstrating how water is too heavy to bring into space. She explained that the astronauts have to “recycle” their own bodily fluids and use condensation to provide the necessary water to survive.

Another popular demonstration was to build a model of the space station using graham crackers, marshmallow “glue,” pretzels, a Tootsie Roll and a marshmallow. This experiment was edible so it ranked high on the students’ list of most fun.

“This is my very first experiment,” 8-year-old Dawson Shrock said. “We just ate supper and came out here. I haven’t tried any other experiments yet. But since I get to eat this one, I guess I can say it is my favorite.”