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Science Museum brings Science Matters to Pine Harbor

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Students were tasked with moving a ball from one part of the room to another without touching it directly. They had tools like a rope, pvc pipe and clips.2 / 4
Students in first- and second-grade learned about fossils and dinosaurs. (Star Gazette photo by Michelle Wirth)3 / 4
A student is pictured testing the gloves he is wearing. How close can he get to the heat lamp before it gets too hot?4 / 4

The Science Museum of Minnesota brought hands-on science to Pine Harbor Christian Academy on March 14 with their Science Matters program. The program is a partnership between the Science Museum of Minnesota and Flint Hills Resources. PHCA is one of 17 schools around the state that was selected to participate in this year's program.

Jessica Holm, an instructor for the Science Matters program, conducted two presentations at Pine Harbor. One was for first- and second-graders that taught the students about dinosaurs and fossils. The second presentation for grades three through five revolved around the science of engineering.

Holm said that her goal for the presentations wasn't for the students to memorize the names of the dinosaurs or the engineering cycle, but to get them excited.

"It's sparking the interest," Holm said.

Students participated in hands-on activities and demonstrations designed to enrich their interest in science through the Science Museum's interactive assembly program.

The dinosaur presentation allowed students to discover what kind of fossils could be hidden in the ground. Once the dinosaur had been "fossilized" during the presentation, students took the bones and put the pieces together to create a dinosaur skeleton.

In the engineering presentation, students participated in several challenges. One of the activities included testing model trains for noise, like real engineers did for the bullet trains in Japan. With a tube filled with water and several shapes of trains, students compared the noise levels for each shape.

"The trains were really noisy when they were coming out of the tunnels, so (engineers) set up this test to kind of model that, so a big splash would mean big noise," Holm said.

Another hands-on activity included moving a big red ball from one basket to another without directly touching it. Students had to figure out how to move the ball using tools like rope, PVC pipe and alligator clips.

Holm said that the presentations are a beneficial way to give students a big science experience that will hopefully stick with them.

"It makes an impact on them in a way that sometimes day-to-day classroom science can't," she said.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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