Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 13, 2010

Kids find science is super

Central High's robotics team shares ideas

BY LISA PERKINS
lperkins@record-eagle.com

TRAVERSE CITY — Kaitlin Cesario had a hair-raising experience during Super Science Saturday.

The 9-year-old Glenn Loomis student attended the event hosted by the Traverse City Central High School robotics team, showcasing science-related themes through demonstrations and hands-on activities. The Van De Graaff electrostatic generator that, when touched, causes hair to stand on end, was a crowd favorite

"I could actually feel the electricity going into my arms and my hair going up," Cesario said.

Families and science buffs could also look through a giant kaleidoscope, see the mathematical calculations that correspond to virtual spirograph designs, see how a wind tunnel works and steer an underwater robot. In all, 18 exhibits kept youngsters and adults alike interested.

"The team brainstormed and came up with the ideas for the demonstrations; the kids have lots of ideas and love to share them with the younger kids," said Michael George, a science teacher at Traverse City Central High School and robotics team coach.

Amanda Rabb was eager to explain how using an accelerometer strapped to a dancer's hip shows how much gravity was pulling the jumping dancer back to the ground.

"When kids start to learn interesting things about science, when they get to a higher level, they will be able to say 'I learned about that when I was younger,'" said Rabb, a freshman and member of the robotics team.

Fourth-grader Hope Aspenleiter said she loves science and learned a lot by attending Super Science Saturday with her mom.

"My favorite was the spirograph," she said.

Her mother, Dawn Aspenleiter, was glad to see so many young women enjoying science.

"I think it is great, a fun way to learn about science, and these girls are a great role model," Dawn Aspenleiter said.