By Ellen Amico
It’s quite difficult to forget about the first time you made ice cream – in a ziploc bag, that is! For many BHHS students, their first experience with making ice cream this way was at Fifth Grade Science Night – a chance for high school students and teachers alike to spread their love for science to fifth graders!
Fifth Grade Science Night, which takes place every year in the spring, is run entirely by BHHS students and teachers, with students taking the lead. The students either lead the groups of fifth graders from classroom to classroom, or perform and help facilitate the experiments.
In Mr. Borneman’s classroom, a.k.a. ‘Whiz Boom,’ the AP Chemistry students performed experiments they developed themselves. Experiments included lighting different salts on fire to produce rainbow flames, launching a ‘Pringles rocket,’ and creating glow-in-the-dark solutions. The fifth graders were truly amazed and impressed by the experiments! Mr. Borneman loves seeing the fifth graders get excited by science, as they “are at a great age where they are curious and fascinated by science and they let their emotions show their excitement,” he says. Although these experiments were performed to entertain the children, they also “inspire children to become more interested in science because they want to discover how the experiments we performed were able to work,” according to Sam Abbruzzese, an AP Chemistry student.
While the fifth graders may not be able to fully understand the potentially complicated science behind the experiments, the night allows the fifth graders to discover a love for science they may not have known existed. “It is good to know that students develop an appreciation and passion for the science while at Byram Hills and by introducing it to them at a younger age, it can help create a lifelong passion,” says Mr. Horowitz, a chemistry teacher at BHHS. In his classroom, the fifth graders plated pennies with gold and silver. By gaining exposure to the real applications of science, fifth graders may discover a true passion for science.
In addition to the fifth graders, the high school students really enjoy themselves as well. I personally loved performing my experiments for the fifth graders, and it seemed like my peers had a lot of fun as well. It is a learning experience for both the fifth graders and high schoolers, as “they gain important skills in teaching and hone their knowledge base [through] peer education,” says Horowitz, of the high school students. By projecting their love for science, the high school students facilitate that early interest in science; if children see that science is enjoyable, they can come to love it too!