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November 5, 2013 > Family Math and Science Night a huge hit

Family Math and Science Night a huge hit

Submitted By Room 36 -7th Graders at Thornton Jr. High

Sponsored by the American Chemical Society (ACS), in recognition of National Chemistry Week, Thornton Jr. High School, in Fremont, held its first Family Math and Science Night on the evening of October 23. The event encouraged families to explore 16 fun and exciting educational stations.

By far one of the most popular attractions was the liquid nitrogen ice cream station. Plenty of oohs and aahs were elicited each time the freezing liquid was added to create a cool smoke effect that spilled over the table and around the volunteers. You could tell that people were eager to try the tasty treat that had been created in just minutes as the line for ice cream ran the length of the multi-use room and snaked out the door for over half an hour.

One station that had students clamoring to get in was Slime! Under the guidance of adult and high school volunteers, students combined polyvinyl alcohol, water, food coloring and Borax to make their own gooey, squishy, stretchy concoction. Seventh grader Kevin Fang said, ÒCreating this mixture was crazy fun!Ó

Other stations included rockets and hot air balloons, origami octagons, three chemistry demonstrations, exploratorium light, plant aromas, and build your own molecules. There was even a station for students and parents to battle it out playing Connect Four. With such a variety of activities, there was something for everyone to enjoy and explore, including live entertainment provided by the Scientific Jam Band.

When asked what she thought about the evening, Jess Norling, Thornton science teacher and coordinator of the event, was thrilled and said the success was the result of there being so much help. She added, ÒThere were so many volunteers from the American Chemical Society, Chevron, Cal, CSUEB, San Jose City College, Thornton teachers, American High School students, along with parents, and other business and community organizations such as LEAF (Local Ecology and Agriculture Fremont), that an event this large and awesome could not have happened without their support.Ó She also thanked Alex Madonic, Councilor and National Chemistry Week Coordinator of the California Section of ACS, for all of his assistance in making the evening possible.

The many volunteers werenÕt the only ones who did a fantastic job; students did, too. Joe Drumm from ACS was impressed by the inquiring minds of Thornton students. In an email he commented, ÒThe quality of questions I received at [my station] was incredible. Most students very quickly grasped the concept of the irradiation. One asked which wavelength was the best one to ÔzapÕ them with; another wanted to know how long the sunlight would take vs. the black light. Simply amazing!Ó

Thornton principal Stan Hicks estimates that upwards of a thousand people took part in this special event. It is certainly a very encouraging response to something that took a good six months to plan.

Thornton hopes to make Family Math and Science Night a biannual event.

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