Students to experience hands-on science at community science night

by Ben Matheson on November 12, 2013

Curious young people have a chance to get their hands dirty with interactive science activities at tonight’s community science night at Gladys Jung Elementary school. Laura Conner is the director of education and outreach for UAF’s college of natural science and mathematics.

“We really want to show that science if fun, a lot of times people have an idea that it’s a collection of facts, but in fact science is alive and exciting. It’s about exploration and trying to test new ideas,” said Conner.

She says the night is dedicated to making science real and engaging. In a similar process to what scientists use, students can extract a piece of their own DNA.

“You can basically take these cells that you scraped out of your cheek, put them in a solution of different chemicals, shake it up, and you can make the DNA come out of the cell,” said Conner.

Connor is hoping that entire families will come out. One highlight will be UAF’s portable planetarium. People step inside and are treated to a celestial show.

“You can see how constellation rotate over the course of the night, or where constellations are at different times of the year in the sky. There’s also some fun features, like a moon fly by, it’s a simulation of flying to the moon and getting really close to the moon and coming back to earth,” said Conner.

An exhibit on physics shows how static electricity can float an orb in thin air. Local partners include the Kuskokwim campus with an ethnobotany activity along with participation from the Lions Club, Public Health Nursing, and 4-H co-operative extension. The event runs 7 to 9 p.m. at the elementary school.

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