GALLIPOLIS FERRY — Beale Elementary students shook up the average school day with “Mad Scientist Day,” which included a variety of science lessons from robots to rockets to shaking up their own butter.
“We have been doing this every year for several years now,” said Betina Leslie, Title I teacher. “We try to plan about four times a year, we have a big event.”
Students spent the day going around seven stations and learning a variety of science rules.
Leslie said the school also does their own elf hunt and Appalachian Day. They’ve also done Christmas around the world with the help of some of the foreign exchange students. Leslie said the older students have also put on a wax museum with autobiographies of their favorite people from history.
Assisting with this year’s “Mad Scientist Day” were students from the Mason County Career Center (MCCC) including those from the engineering class and Future Farmer’s of America (FFA) organization, Toyota members and from the West Virginia University (WVU) Extension Service, Dr. Jessie Wilson.
FFA members taught Beale students how to make their own butter with heavy whipping cream and some salt. Students were then able to taste the butter they made on a cracker. Leslie said this was an experiment teaching liquids to solids.
Toyota members Jacob Plasters and Penny Potocki spoke with students about the use of robotics in machinery and manufacturing. Plasters also played tic-tac-toe with students using a robotic arm.
Toyota member Scott Parsons talked to the students about 3D printing in manufacturing and had printed pieces for the students to see.
Dr. Wilson went over nerves and muscles with students, teaching them the connections and answering questions.
Leslie said the older students went through the stations in the morning and the younger students went during the afternoon.
The WVU Extension office made straw rockets with students, allowing them to test out their design’s flight ability.
With trick-or-treat the night before, students had plenty of candy to eat but Claire Cottrill, speech language pathologist, was teaching them about density and students tested the density of candy pieces.
Engineering students and Instructor Stephen Richardson, engineering, taught the students about Issac Newton’s laws of motion and set off rockets. Richardson discussed the power it takes to push the rockets and various rocket designs students have completed in his class.
“We’re trying our best to make it exciting for you guys,” Richardson said. “We’re going to talk about why the rockets go in the air.”
The students set off a few small rockets during their time outside, but Richardson said the larger rocket he had would be set off that afternoon for the entire school.
A discussion on women in engineering was initiated during one classes visit as the teacher noticed there were no females in the MCCC class. Richardson encouraged them to join once in high school.
Leslie said after the change in activities due to COVID-19 the previous year, they are diligently working to get things back on track safely for students. Appalachia Day and the elf hunt are two that she said the school is currently working on.
Due to the inclement weather, most of the science stations were moved inside.
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Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.