‘Sweet Treats and Science Tricks’ at UM’s BioPark

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— On Halloween, students at James McHenry Elementary/Middle School learned a few science tricks from their neighbors at the University of Maryland BioPark and received oodles of sweet treats. This is the 10th year that the BioPark treated neighborhood children to a Halloween parade and “trick or treat” event.

Early in the day, elementary students were treated to a Halloween parade and treat give-away and older students participated in memorable, fun-filled science demonstrations in the afternoon compliments of The Science Guys of Baltimore, a mobile lab that makes appearances at schools and other sites with the goal of making science fun, accessible and understandable for children.

“This is the biggest pleasure of the job,” said Matt Simms, owner of Science Guys. “We’re trying to make science fun for kids.”

“A lot of time you get to do science for very fortunate kids but doing it for this environment is fun and sweet. It’s exciting— they haven’t seen everything under the sun,” said Simms, who plays Mr. Bond on stage.

James McHenry’s middle school students were alive with excitement during an afternoon of science experiments and demonstrations of everything from a mini tornado vortex simulation to the laws of electricity and a demonstration of Bernoulli’s principle a concept in physics that describes the inverse relationship between pressure and speed.

“I learned how to use electricity in the proper way,” said Tyshawn Robinson, one of several students who participated in electricity demonstrations with the Science Guys.

Robinson says that the science demonstrations may have just persuaded him to become a full-fledged “science guy.”

“I liked science a little before, but I think I like it more now,” he said.

After participating in a vortex demonstration, Jena Queen says she is sure that science will definitely be included in her studies when she gets to college in addition to law.

“It was fun. If you use like a vacuum cleaner or a hair dryer and put a ball on top of it, it will lift. I like science. I’m planning to be scientist or a lawyer,” Queen said.

“We all try to pull together for James McHenry School. We do so to create a fun, safe experience for children who are just a block away,” said Linda Cassart, director of Marketing for the University of Maryland BioPark. “When we first started, the school was small and only went [up] to the fourth grade. Now we host more than 400 students at activities throughout the year.”

Gregory Miller, principal of James McHenry Elementary/Middle School who sat in to observe the Science Guys presentation with his middle school students thought the afternoon fit well with goals he has for his students.

“It allows the children to connect what they are learning in class with real-world application,” Miller said. “We have a partnership with the Bio Park. We do extensive work in meeting the kids where they are and connecting them with professions that interest them.”

Miller bravely volunteered to participate in the Science Guys experiments with fire.

“You see the interest here. This is something that’s going to impact them for the rest of the year,” Miller said.