The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

October 29, 2013

DACC science event to 'wow' youngsters, adults

The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — Seeing a need to expose children to science early in life, Danville Area Community College’s instructor of microbiology Wendy Brown initiated the first family science night 10 years ago at the college.

“Science is best learned hands-on,” Brown said. “Younger children need to be exposed to the fun side of science before they lose the ability to be ‘wowed’ by it.”

The free event, which is scheduled every other year, will be conducted for the sixth time from 5:30-8 p.m. Friday in Mary Miller Gymnasium.

While the event is open to the public, most activities are geared toward children in grades K-5. More than 500 children and their families have attended each of the previous events.

“It’s a fun evening no matter what age you are,” Brown said.

Brown’s colleagues in the math, science and health professions division, along with volunteers made up of DACC students, faculty and staff, will assist in engaging area grade school children and their parents with 53 different interactive science stations.

“We’ve cycled out some of the old activities and cycled in new ones,” Brown said.

Some of the 10 new science stations this year will include the nursing faculty demonstrating a human patient simulator with heart beats that can be heard and can be hooked up to an electrocardiogram machine; building twirly birds after learning how helicopter blades rotate; pumping fog from a fog machine into an air cannon to see the puff of air; making UV exposure bracelets that turn colors when sunlight hits them; creating plant heads with nylon foot socks that have soil and grass seed inside of them; learning about tornadoes, rain cycles and other weather phenomenon and making a pet cloud to take home; and learning how an image is formed in a camera.

Other planned activities include seeing an individual’s DNA; creating recycled paper; using a microscope to view pond water; flying a hot air balloon; investigating worms; interacting with DACC’s newest reptile, a bearded dragon named Shadow II; extracting colors; and much more.

Old favorites, such as making slime and rocket building, also will return that night.

“Slime and rocket building will never go away,” Brown said.

“There are so many stations, there is plenty of room for everyone,” she added.

Also during the family science night, Danville High School’s chemistry staff plans to put on two 20-minute shows called the “DHS Chemistry Road Show,” Brown said.

MORE INFORMATION Family Science Night is set for 5:30-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at Danville Area Community College's Mary Miller Gymnasium.