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Elementary students celebrate science

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Harper Elementary School first-grader, Janiyah Stroud, 7, studied a tiny light bulb that was powered by a couple of wires and a battery, as she held it only inches from her face.

Fifth-grader, Jawan Goldwire, 11, cringed as he pulled a red popsicle out of a Dixie Cup, and realized a thick, pinkish blob was coming out with the stick.

Kindergartner, Melik David, 5, cautiously glided his fingers along the back of a sand python from Australia.

The elementary school hosted its second annual Science Night on Thursday. The event is held every year to highlight different topics in science, through activities that students and parents work on together, said Sancia Berkley, the school's science lab teacher. She was the coordinator for Science Night, and said there were 15 activities available for the approximately 100 students and their family members, who attended.

"We do it to expose our students to more science," Berkley said. "The real goal is to get the students to realize science is all around them."

Several of those on hand, including parents and "corporate" participants, said they enjoyed having an opportunity to engage in scientific experiments designed to get the children into a science state of mind.

"Corporate" participants in this year's Science Night included: Zoo Atlanta, Imagine It! The Children's Museum, the Clayton County Water Authority, Camp Calvin, Science For Everyone, Fit2D Max, Artistic Concepts, local Cub Scout units, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and several Clayton County Public Schools science teachers.

"I think it's vitally important to expose children to this early on," said Eric J. Little, an imaginator for Imagine It! "If you think about different professions, a lot of times, you get exposed to it at an early age."

Harper Elementary parent, Sharon Francis, who said she is a scientist, herself, said it is important to expose children to science at an early age, not just to get them interested in science-related careers, but to introduce them to scientific concepts that cut across academic fields.

"It fosters critical-thinking skills, and teaches them how to go about getting answers to problems," she said. "It's math. It's reading. It's everything they need to do well in school."

But, the students said they enjoyed the experiments just for the fun of it all.

"I liked the animals, because you got to touch the snake," said third-grader, Jaedyn Doiley, 8.

"That was pretty cool," said her older brother, fifth-grader, Jawan Goldwire. "I want to learn more about the leopard gecko, and the tarantula now."

Fourth-grader, Mekhi David, 7, the son of Sharon Francis, added: "I liked the animals, because I learned more about how animals do things to survive. I learned how you can tell a boy tarantula from a female one."

His younger brother, kindergartner, Melik David, said he preferred the school system's StarLab, however. StarLab is an inflatable dome people can crawl into, and experience a presentation on stars and constellations. "I liked seeing all the stars and space," Melik David said.

For first-grader, Janiyah Stroud, however, it was the moment when the light bulb came on, during the electricity session, that she liked the most.

"It was awesome," she said.