Inside Moravian
e-Newsletter of the Moravian College Campus Community 2/18/14
A group of four male College students lead a classroom experiment in Collier Hall.

ABOVE: Nearly a dozen members of the College's Society of Physics Students volunteered at last week's Science Day, which hosted nearly 75 students from Nitschmann Middle School. In the photograph, Brian Welsko ’14 (second from right) leads an experiment.


Team Moravian’s Science Day a Smashing Success

It’s more than appropriate to call last week’s Science Day for Team Moravian a smashing success. With approximately 75 Nitschmann Middle School sixth-graders in attendance, members of Moravian College’s Society of Physics Students and TriBeta Society hosted three separate science-based activities in the bottom floor of the Collier Hall of Science. The half-day event culminated with TriBeta students hosting a seasonally appropriate demonstration given the recent weather, freezing a banana with liquid nitrogen and smashing the fruit into bits on the floor.

Science Day organizer Edward Roeder, associate professor of physics, applauded the work of the Moravian undergraduates, his co-organizer, Ruth Malenda, assistant professor of physics, and the Nitschmann students for their involvement. (To view a photograph gallery from the event, click here.)

The students seemed really interested in all that we had to share with them,” Roeder said of the Nitschmann students. “It's such a delight for us to see such enthusiasm.”

Building on the success achieved at last year’s inaugural Science Day – which hosted 45 sixth-graders – Moravian kept the middle schoolers occupied rotating them through three stations. The activities were centered on electro-magnets, motors and generators, as well as biology demonstrations.

Roeder explained that last year’s Science Day event only included physics experiments, but thanks to support from TriBeta, formally known as Beta Beta Beta, the national honors society for biological sciences, the College added a “biology component.”

In all, 16 students – 11 Society for Physics Students and five TriBeta members – volunteered an estimated 65 service hours, giving their time to prep the stations and host the demonstrations. “It’s great to be able to show these young students what is going on behind the brick walls of Collier Hall when you drive past 1200 Main Street,” Roeder said. It’s wonderful to get them in here and show them the exciting things we are doing.”

Two female middle schoolers smile while getting advise from a female TriBeta member. A students kneels down to help a sixth-grader with the electro-magnet experiment.

ABOVE: Members of TriBeta incorporated a 'biology component' into this year's Science Day, said Ed Roeder.

ABOVE: Members of the Society of Physics Students gave
one-on-one instruction when it was necessary last week.

In addition to learning about the inner workings of a motor and generator, which was led by Malenda, Nitschmann students got to create their own electro-magnets using wire, a bolt and a battery. Minus the batteries, the students were allowed to take their new magnets home to remember their trip to campus.

Most liking the day’s lasting image however will be the banana smashing against the floor – a demonstration the TriBeta members thought of that very morning. Roeder called it wonderfully “spontaneous,” adding how enthusiastic the Moravian undergraduates were throughout the preparation process and the day’s activities.

Roeder explained the students, much like last year, were initially “leery to get in front of a group,” but again settled in quickly. “It is just wonderful to see the interaction between our students and the sixth-graders,” he added. “It is great to see them embracing the role of teacher for a day, and have the opportunity to show off what they know.”

This a magnificent benefit of the yearlong partnership between the middle school and College, Roeder concluded, crediting Camie Modjadidi of the Education Department for coordinating the activities.

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