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Even Hurricane Katrina Can’t Stop Fun Science for Families Day
Children and adults enjoyed Fun Science for Families Day on Saturday 20 May in Jefferson Parish, just outside of New Orleans.
In spite of the devastation Hurricane Katrina wrought on Louisiana, Fun Science for Families Day held its 16th annual celebration of science with hundreds of school children and their families taking part in the day-long event at a New Orleans-area mall.
At one of 30 booths offering hands-on science activities, AAAS staff hosted more than 300 students of various ages, engaging them in activities that demonstrated the fun and excitement of science learning.
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the losses associated with the storm, this year is especially important as parents seek resources to encourage their children to stay focused on academics,” said Clinton Turner Jr., AAAS’s project manager for Science NetLinks, a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and eight premier educational organizations which has produced a Web site of free, Internet-based content across academic disciplines. Turner facilitated the hands-on activities at the event along with Abdulaziz Yousuf, program coordinator for Education and Human Resources at AAAS.
Turner said that AAAS made a special effort this year to respond to the devastation caused by the hurricane by providing inquiry-based educational activities for families to take home. Also, Turner and Yousuf worked with area teachers by giving them extra materials to distribute in their schools and districts.
One of the activities that Turner and Yousuf conducted taught participants about the conductivity of electricity and explored the concept of “open” versus “closed” circuits. Students used a variety of materials—wire, aluminum foil, water, and wood—to determine if they are conductors of electricity and discussed how electrical circuits are formed. Turner and Yousuf adapted their activities based on the age and ability of the booth visitors. For example, in an activity designed for learning about electricity, advanced students explored polarity by using motors and batteries.
The Fun Science for Families Day concept emerged from the 1990 AAAS Annual Meeting in New Orleans and is sponsored by the Jefferson Parish Public School System; the Oakwood Center; Cytec Industries Inc., a specialty chemicals and materials technology company; and AAAS. Every year scientists and teachers volunteer for the event to help demonstrate the excitement of science, to promote parental involvement in education, and to increase interest in science education in the community.
31 May 2006