A gaggle of fourth graders clamored over each other for a glimpse of a large chunk of dry ice immersed in a bucket. A scientist from Mad Science, an organization dedicated to making science interactive in classrooms, was blowing off the steam rising from the “witch’s bucket,” – a result of sublimation, a solid turning directly into gas – over the excited students.
It was all part of Green Science Week being organized at P.S. 110 – a weeklong series of science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) workshops geared towards getting students more engaged in the sciences through a hands-on, interactive approach.
“Green Science Week truly inspires our students to learn about the world around them – reinforcing our school motto of growing hearts and minds,” said Anna Cano Amato, the principal at P.S. 110. “Each year I see the kids becoming more aware of their role in society, and how they can consciously become involved.”
Back in classroom 406, students dressed in green t-shirts with “Green Science Week,” emblazoned in white letters on the front, were learning about dry ice through a series of experiments.
How dry ice reacts differently to hot water and cold, bubbling vociferously in the former and gently in the latter; how metallic alloys react to dry ice – creating a screeching sound due to the room temperature metallic object interacting with the sub zero degree dry ice; and a number of experiments in which the students directly took part.
One such observation had students taste the gas produced when dry ice was placed in hot water.
“It tastes like stinky feet,” yelled one of the students.
“It tastes totally weird,” chimed in another.
The students, in fact, were so engrossed that not one of them had noticed that they were missing part of their lunch period, as their science teacher LuAnne Fortunato, promptly pointed out in the middle of session.
“I’m not even hungry,” a student responded impatiently upon hearing Fortunato’s comment. “Can he stay here all day?” he inquired about the teacher from Mad Science.
Science Week has been taking place at P.S. 110 for the past four years. The program is made possible due to the contributions of Broadway Stages and ExxonMobil.
Four years ago, the school received a setback when the department of education cut back funds allocated to the school, which in turn directly impacted the science program.
Broadway Stages stepped in, helping not just financially, but also reaching out to various organizations like Mad Science to conduct events like Science Week once each year.
“At Broadway Stages, giving back to the communities we live and work in is at the heart of who we are and what we do,” said Gina Argento, the President at Broadway Stages. “Whether we’re teaching our kids the importance of recycling or helping them plant herbs on our rooftop garden – we’re committed to providing more educational opportunities in Greenpoint.”
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