Projects prove science can be fun

Published 10:18 pm Friday, April 15, 2011

I think I had a pretty good childhood. Like most children, I lived off daily nostalgic doses of children’s television, such as the Power Rangers (when Kim was the pink ranger and Tommy was the green one), Nickelodeon (before it was “Nick”), the Mickey Mouse Club (before Britney Spears went underwearless), Sesame Street and the X-Men cartoon (I absolutely loved me some Rogue). Those were the days.

I never really enjoyed school, well maybe a little, and the only reason I attended was to be somebody in life. A little education never hurt anyone, especially if it was in a fun way.

Science was never my subject. I would use a telescope at night to search for the north star every now and then or even pull out the microscope to view a hair follicle, but it just wasn’t my thing.  Things I did enjoy were watching Beakman’s World, the show about a crazy-haired, eccentric scientist and professor whose silly experiments made learning science fun and Bill Nye the Science Guy, who used songs in pop culture to demonstrate how the brain or blood stream really worked. I am not ashamed to say that I still sing “What-a-brain-what-a-brain-what-a-brain-what-a-mighty-good-brain,” which is in the tune of the song made popular by 1990s hip-hop duo Salt-N-Pepa, from time to time.

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It’s the repetition and hands-on demonstrations that help children learn the frustrating subjects like math and science. My elementary and high school teachers weren’t lying when they said “you use math and science in everything.”

Thursday’s science fair at Selma High School was exhilarating. As more than 60 students gathered at Selma High’s library, it was comforting to see all of the hard work and creativity put into some of the projects: Does sugar really burn? How can an egg suck itself into a bottle? Does a pine cone or $1 bill burn when ignited?

Events like the science fair bring people together, from all walks of life and backgrounds.

I saw demonstrations of how to make homemade ice cream and how to make a colorful mini-explosion using such chemicals as strontium, copper and potassium chloride. Needless to say, it was fascinating to see that the bill or cone didn’t burn after all.

Even though I hadn’t participated in science fairs since grade school, Thursday’s lively atmosphere made me want to create things on my own just for the fun of it.  Maybe science isn’t bad after all.