Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Middle School Science Night

While Seattle schools aren't immune from dwindling school budgets and overcrowded classrooms, there are some reassuring high points. Last night's Science Night at Oscar's middle school was a huge event, with exhibitors on three floors, many swarmed by both kids and parents. Not to be confused with a science fair of student-produced projects, this event featured exhibitors from the community, ranging from a local chiropractor to the Seattle Police Department Forensic Unit to the North Seattle Lapidary & Mineral Club to Kenworth Trucks. The Pacific Northwest Herpetological Society brought many live snakes; I talked to one man who was breeding snakes to have new, recessive patterns not found in nature. The Seward Park Audubon Center brought taxidermy waterfowl plus a bat skeleton and had a "duck-duck-goose" quiz game with prizes. I learned about nuclear reactors, and got to see firsthand what a colorblind world actually looks like.

My favorite exhibitor was a woman from the University of Washington Oceanography department, who researches Antarctic ice -- specifically the slime produced by an organism that lives in the ice. She was so enthusiastic, it was infectious. She talked about all the details you might wonder about, including how you actually get to the research station. I'm sure she inspired at least some kids to become scientists. The two-hour event went by fast, and I didn't get to see everything I would have liked.

I definitely believe in the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child," and I'm impressed that there were so many people willing to prepare thoughtful, informative exhibits and activities and give up their evenings for so many middle-schoolers and their families. And local companies such as Dick's Drive-In, Starbucks, and Ivar's made donations, and scores of parents brought baked goods, beverages, and even Vietnamese sandwiches to sell to benefit the PTSA. Thank you, everyone! Science Night is awesome!


  1. Are the last 2 pictures of kid's exhibits?

  2. There weren't any kids' exhibits. The nuclear reactor model was at the American Nuclear Society table and the bats were brought by the Audubon Center.