Wacky waves in Ballston Spa

About 100 students and their parents spent Saturday at school on wacky science projects, including imploding a soda can, balancing a pingpong ball with air pressure, overcoming the force of gravity and electroplating coins.

Called Super Science Saturday, the morning event was held at the Wood Road Intermediate School in Ballston Spa to give students, as well as moms and dads, a fun way to roll up their sleeves and dive into scientific research.

At different workstations set up around the school's large cafeteria, kids milled around experiments with enticing names including "Flubber," "Attractive Spirals," and "Banana DNA." Materials used by the mad scientists included paper clips, Borax, funnels, yardsticks, lemon juice, and even jelly beans.

At the bean booth, kids tested their sense of taste to discern between various flavors of red jelly beans, including cinnamon, sour apple and strawberry.

Fifth-grader Tyler Loewenstein attended with his father, Dan, an aerospace engineer.

"I'm learning about the sense of touch by sticking my hands into different bowls of water, comparing temperatures," said Tyler. "Basically, your senses just get confused."

Emily Bouffard, 6, became a "human lighting circuit" with a 15,000-volt Tesla coil.

"I'm not worried about her getting zapped," said Emily's father, John Bouffard. "I'm an aircraft electrician."

Joe Lopez, principal of the Wood Road Elementary School, said one of the best parts of the day is seeing adults act like school kids again.

"This is the one event where we get the greatest turnout of dads," said Lopez. "It's great to see them be part of their child's education."

Siblings and all family members were encouraged to join in the fun.

"We don't turn anyone away," said Lopez.

Employees from Lockheed Martin"KAPL sponsored a table with experiments for kids to test their strength against a 1.5-volt electromagnet, or have a hair-raising experience with a generator.

"There are a lot of budding scientists here," said Brad Sargent, a KAPL engineer supervising the booth.

Hands down the most popular station was the "Marshmallow Diamonds" table, where kids used candy to construct shapes replicating carbon atoms in diamonds. Maybe they understood this concept; maybe they just liked playing with marshmallows and gumdrops.

"I'm going to eat it when I get home," said Morgan Treacy, using toothpicks to hold together her structure. "I want to be a vet when I grow up, and I'm pretty sure that involves science."


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