By Neah Lekan
A Friday evening in the Orange County foothills is not the time and place one would expect an event promoting STEM and the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair (OCSEF) would take place, yet on Friday, November 6th, OC Science and OCSEF hosted their second “Science Night.” OC Science Executive Board Member Nathan Lin described the purpose of a Science Night as, “to promote scientific curiosity as well as collaboration between young minds.”
Over one hundred such “young minds” arrived at Portola Hills Elementary School in Trabuco Canyon, CA on Friday evening in pursuit of scientific knowledge and discovery. Students in grades 1-6 gathered in the Multipurpose Room to begin the event. Portola Hills Elementary PTA Science Coordinator Elizabeth Cronin kicked off the night with a warm welcome of OC Science, OCSEF, and the students. OC Science Marketing Lead Link and the event leader for the Portola Hills Science Night thanked all of the night’s attendees. After a short welcome by OCSEF Board Member Mark Hobbes, and a short presentation about OC Science, Mr. John Wood gave the keynote presentation about “How to do a science fair project.” “He tapped into the kids’ imagination,” reported OC Science Executive Board Member Tu Trinh.
Following the Opening Ceremonies, OC Science High School volunteers led five workstations which were centered around experiments designed to showcase the scientific method to students. The workstations included “Lava Lamps,” in which students will construct a lava lamp from household items and substances, “Bridge Building,” in which students will have to use their knowledge of the laws of physics to build a sustainable and structurally sound bridge, “Battery Basics,” in which students will learn the principles of circuitry and electricity, “Strawberry DNA Extraction,” in which students will extract the DNA from a strawberry using chemical processes, and “Sensory Perception,” which will test the psychological effects of coloration on taste. “It was fun seeing the kids faces when they saw the DNA show through the solution. The parents were grateful for the help of the volunteers,” OC Science Board Member and Strawberry DNA Event Leader Lucy Liu stated. The event closed with the distribution of door prizes and acknowledgements of the the PTA, OCSEF, and volunteers. Event Lead Neah Lekan summed up the event, stating, “ The event was a runaway success that incorporated the best of OC Science, OCSEF, and over one hundred interested and engaged students. We received positive reviews from parents and students alike and we are confident to host our next Science Night at Santiago on November 18th.” The event concluded with students and parents streaming out of the Multipurpose Room excited to begin science fair projects for the Portola Hills Elementary School Science Fair.