By Curt Yeomans
Michael Green, dressed in an oversized white laboratory coat, green hair and size 26 black shoes, likes to play with pyrotechnics.
He walks out in front of a group of students, lays down the rules for the next hour, and then throws fire into the air. The fire is actually a piece of flash paper that has been lit with a cigarette lighter that Green keeps hidden in his hand.
Michael Green, and his older brother, Jefferson, tour elementary schools to teach children about the value of science, and how it impacts everyday life. The flying fire is just their way of catching the attention of the students.
"We like to start with something that makes them go [gaping his mouth], and just build on it from there," said Michael Green
The Green brothers are the co-founders of the Ellenwood-based Science For Every1. They produce science experiments using everyday items to get the very young excited about science.
They were at Hawthorne Elementary School on Friday. Overall, the brothers visit about 25 Clayton County elementary schools every year. Last year, they performed for 180,000 students in other metro Atlanta area schools.
"Look at where the country is headed," said Jefferson Green. "It's so important that kids are not intimidated by what's coming and, in fact, embrace it."
The company is actually the brainchild of Michael Green, who used to work as a speechwriter for Atlanta's SciTrek Science and Technology Museum before it closed a few years ago. One day, he decided to watch a science show with a group of school children, and he was in awe of what he saw.
When SciTrek closed, Green and his brother started Science For Every1, so they could take science to the students, and keep an enthusiasm for the natural world going.
"Our program works because principals and assistant principals, like the ones at Hawthorne, allow us to come in and get students excited about science," said Jefferson Green.
Marcus Jackson, the assistant principal at Hawthorne, first contacted the Green brothers three years ago to get them to come to the school to do annual performances for his students.
"These days, math and reading get all the attention, and science gets pushed to the back," said Jackson. "I wanted to make sure the students knew science is important to learn, too."