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Principles of Physics, Biology Fascinate Children During Public Science Day
During an afternoon of fun on Thursday, 14 February, a group of 250 Boston schoolchildren learned to pack an egg in a box so it wouldn't break, to chart motion and speed on a graph, and to draw in space using images captured by video cameras.
This was the 2002 AAAS Public Science Day at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston, and one 11-year-old girl was trying very earnestly to understand why water was important to life.
"We need it to wash our hair and our faces," she tried tentatively. "And our kidneys."
The scientist, Chris Randall, was patient. "That's right. Can you think of any part of your body that does not need water?" he asked her.
Ten minutes later, after she had poured two small piles of powder -- baking soda on one side and citric acid on the other, and poured a stream of water between them, she could see how water could both dissolve matter and transport it. Now she said she understood that water was important to life.
"I can see how water could dissolve food and carry it around our bodies to where it's needed," the girl told Randall.
AAAS staff planned the event at the Sheraton with the help of TERC, a local not-for-profit organization that works to improve math and science learning. Earlier in the day, Shirley Malcom, Director of the Education and Human Resources Directorate of AAAS, and Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman, past AAAS President, joined about 1,000 Cambridge middle graders in celebrating Public Science Day at The Museum of Science, with the opening of a new dinosaur exhibit.
-- Coimbra Sirica