KDPi stages Fun Science Fair for after-school students

Mae Shimandle (left, kneeling) leads after-school students in gauging the physical properties of  “goo”.

Mae Shimandle (left, kneeling) leads after-school students in gauging the physical properties of “goo”.

Magnets, stinky balloons, water rockets, marshmallows and toothpicks, and plain old "goo" were some of the props used by UF’s Upsilon chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, the international educational honor society, when members staged a Fun Science Fair recently for 150 kids in Idylwild Elementary School’s after-school program.

Some 30 UF KDPi students from the College of Education teamed up on the event with UF students from Pi Tau Sigma, the UF mechanicalengineering program’s honor society. The students manned five, hands-on "fun science" activities centers teaching scientific phenomena such as magnetism, chemical reactions (with baking soda and vinegar balloons), static electricity, water surface tension (building "boats’ out of tin foil and seeing how many pennies they can hold before sinking), "goo" (is it solid or liquid?) and earthquakes (whose marshmallow and toothpick structures will withstand the bouncing-tilting table?). And, for students awaiting their turn, UF students led a mathematics-version of Capture the Flag, where answering a math question would get you out of jail.

Briley Gammell, UF chapter president of KDPi, says the Upsilon Chapter conducts numerous social and service projects throughout the year for local schoolchildren.

KDPi member Robyn Andres helps a student test the durability of her tinfoil “boat” in a demonstration of water surface tension. The boats were tested to see how many coins they could hold before sinking.  

KDPi member Mae Shimandle leads Idywild elementary students in experiments with “goo”—is it solid or liquid?

Service event coordinators from Kappa Delta Pi, Briley Gammell, and Pi Tau Sigma,
Garrett Pataky and Ryan Cardillo (not pictured) get in on the fun by helping the Idylwild
students learn through discovery by building marshmallow and toothpick structures.


COE’s   Lauren Grube teaches a student about static electricity.  

KDPi officer Kathy Zawadzki (left) demonstrates chemical reactions using baking soda and stinky vinegar balloons.

Staff photos by Larry Lansford