Little scientists

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Eardrum model three

RONAN — Students from K. William Harvey Elementary School got a big dose of science last Thursday night. Thanks to the efforts of SKC and the KWH PTA, students had plenty of hands-on activities to choose from in the school gym for “Family Science Night.”

“We’re trying to peak their interest in science,” event organizer Carey Swanburg said. “It’s all around us and it’s part of our world. Science and kids just mix well together and we want to make sure kids have an opportunity to experience it.”

Thanks to funding provided by the National Science Foundation to SKC, K. William Harvey has been able to host this event for the past four years. This year proved to be the largest turnout yet with around 500 attendees.

The school benefited from a multitude of local individuals donating their time for exhibits. Save for the SpectrUM exhibit, which is contracted out from the University of Montana, all the presenters were from Lake County.

“We ask the Family Science Night presenters to have something kids can touch and manipulate,” Swanburg said. “It’s more than just a ‘look at this poster.’”

Students could complete an electrical circuit with batteries, watch a heart sonogram of a live dog, witness the inflation and deflation of a pig’s lung and pal around with the World Champion Ronan Robotics team.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the night was how the dog stood still for two hours while Mission Valley Vetrinarian Clinic doctor Kevin Detwiler administered a sonogram for people to see its beating heart on the monitor.

“This dog’s name is Roy and he’s been very patient tonight,” Detwiler said.

CSKT Tobacco Prevention Specialist Cristen Two Teeth showed students two sets of pig lungs. One was a healthy set of lungs while the other represented a charred smoker’s lung.

“The pig lungs represent the closest thing to human lungs,” Two Teeth said. “Everyone is either fascinated by it or kind of grossed out.”

KWH school nurse Jami Lynch educated students about the human ear, using a real drum as a model for a eardrum and showing that sound can be passed through two cups attached with a string.

Jared and Jason Catudio were two of the many students who looked impressed by the electronics presented by the Ronan Robotics team.

“We think it’s pretty cool,” Jared said.

“Nah, I’m the coolest,” Jason said jokingly.

SKC had a display of one of its latest projects, the SKC CubeSat which is set to be launched into orbit in either 2013 or 2014. Kids were perplexed by the satellite’s camera and computer systems, marveling at the small scale of everything. One side of the satellite is just 10x10 centimeters.

“We think it’s wonderful that we have so much support,” Swanburg, who’s school works on the event for months, said. “We have a small but mighty PTA. They do incredible things for our school.”

Last year, the students let off hot air balloons and this year, students also got the chance to fire off rockets during the science night, which was an obvious hit.

“They love science night, it was the talk of the school on Friday,” Swanburg said. “We really like this cultivating environment where kids are asking questions. It’s a must for kids to stay engaged.”

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