What if the driving force behind the evolutionary patterns of homo erectus was moms telling their kids to “Stand Up Straight?”
Once when I was 10, he tells us, I asked my dad why the sky was blue. He said go ask your mom. She said, “Because I said so.” I never asked her a science question again.
The Science Rapper raps about complex scientific concepts in the melodious, easy to follow style of rap. Here an example:
The USA Science&Engineering Festival 10/10 to 10/24 in Washington, DC makes science accessible through performances and exhibits tailor made for kids. A few examples from a preview held in DC a few days ago:
About 60 students from Martin Luther King Elementary School in DC, School Without Walls and The Nysmith School for the Gifted Inc. participated in a dozen interactive exhibits to get a taste of what the USA Science&Engineering Festival would be like.
Among the exhibits students participated in:
A Virtual Reality Mirror of a Real City: Lockheed Martin previewed its Mirror World virtual reality system and showed students the difference between virtual reality and the video games kids are familiar with. Fourth and fifth graders clustered around three laptop computers which allowed them to go on missions through city streets and walk, run and jump on blocks and buildings from a virtual city, created with GPS Precision so they mirrored real life.
Extracting DNA to Make Goo Resembling Strawberry Snot – The National Human Genome Research Institute worked with students to extract DNA from strawberries using a dish soap, table salt, rubbing alcohol, a coffee filter and a plastic bag. The red DNA the students found was drippy and the texture of what comes out of their noses. Students went home with details about the experiment so they could conduct it with family and friends.
What’s Green and Good and What’s Poisonous? EPA’s father of green chemistry, Paul Anastas, Ph.D., clad in a white lab coat, led a roundtable of students who learned how light sensitive film changed color depending on the chemicals it was exposed. Each student got to take their film home and share what they learned with everyone they know.
Making Physics Fun by Checking Out Really Cool Devices. The University of Maryland had a lot of everyday stuff students could hear, see and touch including one that made their thoughts could control objects. They also got to see standing waves in a Slinky, hear pipe tones, a singing aluminum rod, and listen to sound waves creating wave patterns in gas flames. Can sound waves really break glass? Come to the USA Science&Engineering Festival and Find Out!
Jumping Around to Learn How Our Bodies Work – AAAS put students through aerobic paces to learn about their hearts, brains, skeleton and skin and what keeps them working. They jumped, ran in place, danced and a lot more as they learned about nutrition and other biological processes that help to "keep our motor running."
Albert Einstein also showed up with his marginally recognizable German accent – although thinner and younger than all photos – he could have been the real scientist. But the real hit was the Cat in the Hat – who evidently has a new science program on PBS that pre-schoolers adore.
To get the attention of girls who think science is geeky, Darlene Cavalier (a former 76ers cheerleader and now the self-proclaimed Science Cheerleader) is gathering up former and current cheerleaders who also have careers as scientists to create a special choreographed cheer that will be performed at the USA Science&Engineering Festival, and then taken on the road.
Is making science fun and linking it to our everyday lives a strategy that can help and be sustained? What do you think?