The event gave students the opportunity to share their learning with the community.
On Friday, Feb. 24, Crossroads students, families, faculty and staff braved rain showers to attend Middle School Family Science Night in the Science Education & Research Facility on the 21st Street Campus. Middle School students shared the small group projects that they’ve been working on for the past several weeks. The presentations, which included visual elements and opportunities for audience participation, gave students the chance to teach the community about a scientific concept they researched.
Eighth graders Emma Garrigus, Abby Listenberger and Ellie Listenberger built a marble run using pipe insulation and wooden sticks to explore the physics of roller coasters. Friends and family could test out their final project and compete to see who would win the marble race.
“We learned about the physics behind roller coasters and how they are tested for safety,” said Emma. The group used that information to inform their building process. “We planned out how we were going to build it,” said Abby. “And as we were building it we kept testing it to make sure it would work consistently and made modifications as needed.”
Seventh graders David Zeidenfeld and Jess Blackstone used their passion for the environment as the basis for their project. They developed solutions that addressed the main individual contributors towards climate change and created a survey for Science Night attendees on their daily habits, including meat consumption and transportation methods.
“We chose this topic because we really wanted to tell people about how even throwing a water bottle away in the wrong place can really affect the Earth,” said Jess. “We wanted to raise awareness for people.”
After completing the surveys, David and Jess explained to attendees how small changes, such as eating a plant-based diet and biking to work or school, can make a positive impact on the environment over time.
Robotics students showcased the robots they built using coding and mechanical engineering skills. Throughout the night, they demonstrated how each robot was designed to complete a series of tasks such as picking a cone, transporting it, raising it to a specific height and depositing it onto a pole.
In addition to student presentations, guest speakers Jennifer Beatty (a PhD candidate in Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography at USC) and Jenn Enstrom (the state director for CALPIRG) spoke to students and their families in Roth Hall during Q&A sessions that provided opportunities for further learning.
“When students get to become teachers and have a voice, they become more knowledgeable of the subject they’re learning about and they absorb things in a much deeper manner,” said Middle School Science Teacher Sara Luke. “The community walked away impressed with how well students delivered their lessons and I think the students were really happy and proud of what they accomplished.”