JERSEY SHORE - On Nov. 16, 25 Jersey Shore Area Middle School students and a few high school students taught younger Salladasburg Elementary School students about science and technology, and a TV crew from New York City traveled in to capture the event.
For two decades, the middle school has had a traveling science museum, each year adding fun exhibits that pique students to explore the science behind it.
Students experience electricity, physics, aerodynamics, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, visual and acoustic perception, all within a cacophony of sound and kinetic activity.
Raj Nair, left, host of “Liberty Treehouse,” hands Jersey Shore Area Middle School technology teacher Slater Harrison a new camera for the middle school video program.
Ice skaters spin very fast at the end of routines by pulling their mass (weight: arms and legs) in close to the center of rotation. It’s called “conservation of angular momentum.” Flooding and freezing the gym proved impractical, so students at Jersey Shore Area Middle School built a disk on a car axle bearing.
A giant hamster wheel on a pipe frame and truck axle teaches students about geometry.
All of Sir Isaac Newton's three laws of motion become tangible in water rockets, drawing machines and flying devices, according to Slater Harrison, technology teacher at Jersey Shore Area Middle School.
This year, a giant 6-foot-diameter hamster wheel joined the museum.
"We couldn't locate any giant hamsters, so the kids ran in it," Harrison said. "More importantly, it was an opportunity for elementary kids to learn about terms like radius, diameter and circumference, and their relationships. For example, the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle is pi, that mysterious irrational number that is so integral to science and technology."
Harrison said that some of his most dedicated students worked before and after school to create the hamster wheel, applying science and math to the construction.
"We knew the diameter of the wheel would be 6 feet wide. So the radius was 3 feet, and I used a 3-foot stick with a nail in one end and marker in the other to draw the circle," said eighth-grader Richard Dailey. "Then we had to estimate how much wrestling mat we'd need to pad the outside. Circumference is diameter (6) times pi (3.141) ... 19 feet gave us a few inches to spare."
The Resilite Corp. in Sunbury donated the foam wrestling mat that keeps kids safe, Harrison said. The after-school TV program for kids and young teens, called "Liberty Treehouse," sent a crew to cover the service that the middle school students provided throughout the day.
The host, two camera people, a producer and production coordinator mingled with the throngs, interviewing students and capturing the excitement of the event.
The programing on the network that produces "Liberty Treehouse" is mostly political. However, the afterschool program is not partisan or political, but rather educational, with an emphasis on history, science, geographic adventure and service to others.
In return for being able to tape the science festival and other how-to science and technology projects, the network donated nearly $900 of new video equipment to the Jersey Shore Middle School video program, Harrison said.
"This is very important to me because I have been zeroed out of the school technology budget and equipment is on the verge of collapse," Harrison said before receiving the donation.
"The one thing that I really enjoyed the most was seeing how excited they got over doing little things that I take for granted. I was really surprised that everything was the same ... but, so much littler than I remember it being. Like the bathrooms were tiny. I really enjoyed teaching the kids," said eighth-grader Kaseenah Paulhamus. "I learned a lot about teamwork, I don't think I could have done it without my partner to help. I think that I want to be an elementary teacher when I grow up."
Morgan High, also an eighth-grade student, said she enjoyed working with the younger students.
"The thing I enjoyed most was just seeing the joy in the younger kids eyes," High said. "I talked with them and think we planted a seed of interest of technology in their mind that might later grow and sprout into great ideas."
Heather Reeder, the other technology teacher at the middle school, also helped run the event.
"In fact, the section of the traveling museum with all the historical technology - dial telephones, phonograph records, even 8-track tapes - was curated by her," Harrison said.