WARREN, NJ - First graders gazing at the stars inside a giant inflatable planetarium. Sixth graders using recycled plastic bottles to conduct experiments on evaporation and condensation. Elementary science fairs with facts, physics and fun. Across Warren Township Schools, scientific exploration and wonder is alive and well.
“This is a planetarium, a place you go to learn about things in the nighttime sky,” said Mariel O’Brien, an astronomer at Raritan Valley Community College as she prepared to take 1st graders at Angelo L. Tomaso School (ALT) into the inflatable dome Starlab on April 26. “Today we’re going to talk about the stars.”
“Science Day” at Woodland School on April 21 found students embracing a Burmese python named Popcorn, feeling the hexagonal prismatic wax cells of a honey bee’s honeycomb, enjoying the physics of skateboarding at an energetic assembly and much more. Like the Starlab at ALT, Woodland’s Science Day was organized by school PTO members.
A month earlier, on March 10, 60 young scientists clad in bright orange shirts donated by the Mt. Horeb PTO stood before their science “learning booths,” explaining detailed experiments they undertook for the Mt. Horeb Science Fair.
“The annual science fair is an excellent enrichment prospect to direct optional scientific study in a community-based setting,” says Mt. Horeb enrichment teacher Wendy Piller, who created the program and receives help each year from dedicated PTO members. “Students are given the opportunity to take their work to a level commiserate with their interest and ability.”
Sixth graders in Simone Miller’s science class participated in a simple experiment on March 24 to study atmospheric pressure, evaporation, condensation and cloud formation, using recycled plastic bottles.
Additionally, for a 7th consecutive year, ALT fifth graders will release trout into a nearby brook on April 28 as part of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s “Trout in the Classroom” program which provides trout eggs for the students to raise and release. Central’s popular “Invention Convention” and a Liberty Science outreach educator visit to ALT are among the many events and projects on the horizon to inspire the school district’s young scientists.
PHOTO #1: First graders at Angelo L. Tomaso learn about the nighttime sky on April 26 as they prepare to enter Skylab, a gigantic inflatable planetarium provided through the educational outreach of Raritan Valley Community College.
PHOTO #2: Woodland School paraprofessional Amy Hold (L) and 5th graders snuggle with Burmese python Popcorn from Rizzo’s Wildlife World, one of the many activities on Science Day on April 21. Students (from far left to right): Giovanni Russo, Aydan Ohlson, Joseph Piegaro, Luca Goncalves, Dylan Downey, Jackson Scala, Lance Garcia, Gavin Segerson, Anthony DeLuca.
PHOTO #3: Samantha Guth, a 6th grader at Warren Middle School, uses a recycled plastic bottle for a science experiment on cloud formation.