Leo on Wheels rolls into Orion Junior High

Apr 19 2013 - 11:57pm

Images

(BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Colin Smith (right) cringes from a static shock delivered by Wyatt Jenkins and Tanner Stakebake during The Leo on Wheels science open house night at Orion Junior High School in Harrisville on Wednesday. Smith was building up an electric charge by holding onto the Van de Graaff generator at left.
Micah Meza releases a group of balls down parallel tracks in a lesson on velocity during The Leo on Wheels open house at Orion Junior High School in Harrisville on Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2013. The evening featured different interactive stations used to teach various scientific concepts. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Cameron Stakebake, right, pedals a stationary bike used order to power lightbulbs while his brother, Tanner Stakebake, watches at Orion Junior High School in Harrisville on Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2013. The brothers were attending an open house event held by The Leo on Wheels, a traveling science education program from the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Seventh grade student McKenna Lee's hair stands on end at an exhibit on static electricty at Orion Junior High School in Harrisville. The Leo on Wheels, a traveling science education program from the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City, held an open house in the school cafeteria on Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2013. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
(BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Colin Smith (right) cringes from a static shock delivered by Wyatt Jenkins and Tanner Stakebake during The Leo on Wheels science open house night at Orion Junior High School in Harrisville on Wednesday. Smith was building up an electric charge by holding onto the Van de Graaff generator at left.
Micah Meza releases a group of balls down parallel tracks in a lesson on velocity during The Leo on Wheels open house at Orion Junior High School in Harrisville on Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2013. The evening featured different interactive stations used to teach various scientific concepts. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Cameron Stakebake, right, pedals a stationary bike used order to power lightbulbs while his brother, Tanner Stakebake, watches at Orion Junior High School in Harrisville on Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2013. The brothers were attending an open house event held by The Leo on Wheels, a traveling science education program from the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Seventh grade student McKenna Lee's hair stands on end at an exhibit on static electricty at Orion Junior High School in Harrisville. The Leo on Wheels, a traveling science education program from the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City, held an open house in the school cafeteria on Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2013. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)

HARRISVILLE -- Skyler Call wasn't sure he would like getting shocked by a large static electricity ball. But the 15-year-old and his friends couldn't stay away. 

As part of its Leo on Wheels science presentation, the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City sponsored an open house Wednesday evening at Orion Junior High School. The museum takes its science presentation with approximately 10 different interactive projects to junior high schools all year long.  

The presentation specializes in what eighth-graders are required to learn in science classes. The nighttime open house offered students a chance to bring their families in to show what they had learned.

"Parents like to come and see what their kids are talking about," said Katherine Leksander, who works for the Leonardo and visited Orion science classes earlier in the week.

The exhibit is an extension of the museum, but some of the materials on the traveling display are not at the museum, she said.

"As a museum we want to reach out to kids and show them these neat applications," Leksander said.

Many students start to lose interest in science during the middle school years and they want to show the students how fun and exciting science can be, she said. 

The static electricity model was a big hit, as students would hold their hands on the metal ball and then touch their friends, as they would squeal at the shock. Some would barely hold their hands above the ball, while others had no hesitancy to feel the full effect of the shock. Others liked the riding the stationary bike that created electricity as it was pedaled. Light bulbs would burn brighter and brighter the harder the bike was ridden.  

"It is so hard. I'm getting tired!" exclaimed Ethan Hansen as his mom, Elisabeth, helped turn the switches on and off.  

Ethan is 10 years old and came to the exhibit with his mom to pass off some merit badges for Scouts.

"All of it is interesting," Ethan said of the exhibit as he looked around the stage at the different exhibits.  

Elisabeth was impressed as well.

"I'm even learning new things," she said as she talked about the math presentation. "I brought him for Scouts, and I'm learning with him," she added.

There is no charge to have the exhibit because the Utah State Office of Education sponsors it. The museum tries to visit at least one school in every district every three years. The museum keeps track of what schools have been visited and where they should be going.  

"We try to be as equal as possible," Leksander said. 

Science teacher Jason Paige said the exhibit has been successful at the school.  

"It is spot on and perfect for review," Paige said.  

Because the exhibits focus on the eighth-grade curriculum, it has been a nice break for teachers pushing their kids to study for end-of-year tests.  

"Teachers love it because it gives them a chance to come out of class and not be pounding facts into their heads all day," Paige said.

 

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