CHATHAM, NJ - The secret is getting out. Two Chatham High School juniors have been holding a really fun science class for young children in the basement of the Library of the Chathams.
The "Super Science for Kids" class is taught by Lea and Jack Casano-Boris, 17-year-old twins who love science and making it fun for kids. The program started in July and the last of nine classes "Lava Lamp/Density" took place on Saturday. But don't fret Chatham parents, the twins are already talking about planning more classes.
"I cannot say enough good words about Lea and Jack," Galina Natenzon, assistant director of the library, said. "They are conducting this program on top of their other commitments; they are good students and both of them are athletes.
"The level of preparation, commitment and punctuality is unusually high for such young teachers. They come to class with detailed lesson plans, a great PowerPoint presentation, and always ahead of time. The presentations are lively, and they have an enraptured audience in each class. Their friendly personality and great communication skills are also helpful."
On Saturday, the 7 and 8-year-olds learned about density before making a lava lamp out of a reusable water bottle that they got to take home with them.
"We wanted to stimulate children's minds, so we started out in our 8th-grade year helping with the Library summer reading program and over our ninth-grade summer," Jack Casano-Boris said. "In Key Club, they offered an opportunity to help the teachers teach STEM classes after school at Washington Avenue. We did that and then we wanted to branch out from that."
The "Super Science for Kids" classes have included: Oobleck/Indoor Snow, Bridge Challenge, Mini Catapults, Extracting DNA from Strawberries, Lemon Volcanoes, Color-Changing Slime, Rubber-Band Cars, Make Your Own Ice Cream and Lava Lamp/Density.
"Our first lesson we did indoor snow and oobleck," Lea Casano-Boris said. "Oobleck is like a liquid and a solid. You can pick it up like a solid. It's corn starch and water. Pick it up and it oozes out of your hand like a liquid. It's the basic lesson of liquids, solids and matter, but using something fun like oobleck or slime."
Lea and Jack Casano-Boris talk about density before showing the kids how to make Lava Lamps
Kids in the Super Science For Kids class react to the bubbling of the Lava Lamps
"Some of the lessons we did here, we did in high school, like extracting DNA from strawberries," Jack said. "We did science fairs when we were in middle school. I remember one on the heart and another where we measured the growth of bacteria. That's where we got started."
In their athletic life, each twin made their respective Chatham High varsity basketball team as sophomores last season. Lea was on the Cougar girls team that won a state sectional championship and advanced to the Group 3 state final. Lea did some bragging about her brother before the class, claiming that she has seen her 5-9 sibling dunk a basketball.
Both Casano-Boris twins are high honors students and they both have plans to continue with science. Lea is thinking of pre-med studies and Jack wants a career that includes biology. So far, the twins have followed in the footsteps of their mother, Cathy Casano-Boris, who taught elementary school students for 25 years.
"They've gotten so much out of the great education they've received here in Chatham and the important part is that they're giving back to the community," Cathy Casano-Boris said. "Experiential learning is so important. I just felt that the children early on liked science experiments, so we did them at home."