By Michelle Xu
OC Science hosted its workshops at Santiago Elementary in collaboration with the Beckman High School OC Science Chapter as part of the Santiago Science Night event on Nov. 18th.
The event featured four different workshops: Battery Basics, a circuitry workshop; Lava Lamps, a chemistry workshop; Sense Perception, a behavioral science workshop; and Bridge Building, an engineering workshop.
Minh-Thi Nguyen, the captain for the Battery Basics workshop, taught students how to make different batteries out of ordinary household supplies, such as soda. The students were able to make their own batteries, and then watch them light up.
“I put salt, copper, and aluminum together to make my battery,” said Ava, an eager participant.
Lava Lamps is an event where students make their very own lava lamps by utilizing the hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties of oil and water. Harry Park, the captain for this workshop, first gave a brief lesson on chemistry for the elementary schoolers. For example, he taught that hydrophobic molecules are those that dislike water, and hydrophilic molecules are those that are attracted to water. He then showed them how to make their own lava lamps with household materials. Harry believes that “the experiment was a creative way to explain a somewhat tough chemistry concept in an engaging way.”
Shreyas Hukkeri, the captain for the Sense Perception workshop, explained the surprising phenomena of why people cannot always trust their eyes. A simple taste-test proved his point. While he explained the lesson, his assistant teachers secretly mixed apple juice with different food colorings. When given to the students, almost no one could identify the mysterious juice as apple juice. For instance, one student who received a purple-colored juice thought it was grape juice.
"The sense perception experiment amused the participants and their parents on how just the simple changing of color could alter their thoughts on a mystery liquid. Overall, it was a great experience and I was happy that the kids had an enjoyable time doing the experiment,” recalls Shreyas.
Jun Yun is the captain for the Bridge Building workshop. The challenge of his workshop was to have the students construct a bridge that could hold the most amount of weights. Not only did this event encourage problem solving, but it also encouraged teamwork. Students got together and began pondering different designs for bridges.
“We want to design the bridge like a table,” said Gilbert as he drew out his design. Adding on to Gilbert’s idea, team member Isaac said, “I was thinking of using a triangle as the base because the weight will be evenly distributed.”
Each student contributed different ideas to the bridges, and the ideas proved to be effective. The winning team was able to hold a whole box of weights before the bridge broke.
Both volunteers and participants were able to gain new knowledge from the event. Beckman OC Science member Wesley Vu says, “It was really neat seeing so many people, both parents and kids, being so engaged in the activities that were prepared.”
By Tu Trinh
On April 16, 2016, OC Science teamed up with OCSEF to host their 2nd annual Orange County Science and Engineering Week science olympiad invitationals. Students from grades 3 - 8 were offered the opportunity to attend an invitational and participate in two discovery stations. Third through fifth graders were in the Elementary Science Olympiad Invitational, while sixth through eighth graders were in the Junior Science Olympiad. Students who participated in the preliminary Problems of the Month preliminary rounds were selected to compete in the Junior Science Bowl.
The Elementary Science Olympiad Invitational was the first event, from 9:30 - 12:30. It began with a short introduction from OC Science board. Afterwards, everyone dispersed into their separate stations for the first rotation. OC Science offered eight stations: Aerodynamics, Build It, Building Prokaryotes, Crime Busters, Mystery Liquids, Picture This, Straw Towers, and Solid, Liquid, Gas. Volunteers worked extremely hard to set up their event, produce worksheets and rubrics, teach the students the material, and grade their performances for the awards ceremony.
For those who could not register, OC Science also offered six mini event stations at the front of the building, such as Index Card Towers and Chromatography. Docents volunteering for OCSEF were also hard at work, giving tours of the winning science fair projects to interested families, teachers, and students.
After the second event rotation, the Elementary Science Olympiad Invitational ended with an exciting awards ceremony emceed by OC Science board. Each event captain came up and announced three winners from each of their rotations. “It was really fun doing the experiments and learning more about science,” says Athena Chen, who medaled twice at the ceremony.
The Junior Science Olympiad took place in the afternoon, from 12:45 - 4:30. This time, OC Science offered six stations: Bottle Balloon Vehicle, Clay Boats, Lego Bridge, Marshmallow Tower, Mystery Architecture, and Roller Coasters. Again, volunteers, board members, docents, and parents worked extremely hard to guide the students, prepare lunch and snacks, provide live stream updates, and keep the event running smoothly. “Helping all these kids explore science and make new discoveries is truly a remarkable experience. It’s great to see all my hard work pay off,” reports Vesal Razavimaleki, captain of the Mystery Architecture table.
After both event rotations, OC Science board hosted the Science Bowl 2016. Eight top-performing students, selected prior to the bowl, went up on stage and relied on their vast scientific knowledge and fast reflexes to answer the trivia questions as quickly and accurately as possible. This was an captivating experience for all who participated as well as the audience. In the end, seventh- grader Anne Smith was awarded the championship trophy. “I had a fun time standing up there on stage… [I] can’t wait for next year!” she says.
The 2nd annual Orange County Science and Engineering Week event concluded at 4:30 after the Junior awards ceremony. Students left the auditorium after a long and exhilarating day, inspired to do their own scientific experiments and waiting for OC Science’s next event.
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.
OC Science Night @ Woodsboro
Hundreds of people attended OC Science’s Science Night at Woodsboro Elementary School. Students, scientists, and volunteers all came together to learn and experiment with science in fun, interactive ways. Kids learned how to produce good science fair projects, participated in fun hands-on activities, and were able to ask scientists for help on their science fair ideas.
The students were able to attend five different events: Battery Basics, Strawberry DNA, Bridge Building, Lava Lamps, and Sense Perception. Each lab involved hands-on activities and taught students science in a creative, enjoyable manner. Event captains emphasized teamwork and out of the box thinking.
“These stations are about the power of collaboration,” said Bridge Building Captain Nathan Lin. “They get to use their creative abilities to build stuff.”
Captains also took steps to ensure that their stations were engaging and educational. At one station, captains told jokes and taught kids about polar and nonpolar molecules at the same time. At another station, captains told kids that the number one rule was to not eat the strawberry. The number two rule was to have fun.
Many captains believed that their stations were relatable. “Batteries are a part of everyone’s life,” said Battery Basics Captain Minh Thi. “By learning how to make their own batteries and seeing the results, they may become more interested in science.”
Students loved the event. Many said they enjoyed learning new things. Others enjoyed specific parts of their activities.
“I loved how the lava lamps suddenly changed color with the food coloring,” said Jeffrey. “It was really cool!”
Other students had different reasons for liking their labs.
“I liked smashing the strawberries,” said Preston. “The DNA was really cool.”
Another student said, “These bridges are cool. Even though they’re hard to make, it’s fun and I learned a lot.”
Overall, everyone enjoyed the event and learned a lot from it.