Halloween Science Night Expected to be ‘a Blast’

2010_Events_ScienceNight-007-XLCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 12, 2010 – Children ages 5-12 are invited to learn that science is “a blast” at the free Halloween Science Night Oct. 23 at Southeast Missouri State University.

Children will be transformed into scientists and will have the opportunity to see exploding pumpkins, star gaze, watch things that glow, learn about owls and carnivorous plants, and participate in gooey, gross and awesome activities at the event planned for 5 to 9 p.m.

Registration will be held in Robert A. Dempster Hall with activities throughout the night in Dempster, Magill and Rhodes halls.

“The point of the night is to bring kids to campus to visit the science labs so they can see how cool science really is,” said Christy Mershon, assistant director of Extended and Continuing Education.

The evening’s events are being organized by Dr. Rachel Morgan Theall, assistant professor of chemistry and middle and secondary education; Dr. Marcus Bond, associate professor of chemistry; Jackie Wortmann, coordinator of the NASA Educator Resource Center; and Shannon McNew, instructor of biology.

Tickets will be issued at the door for admission into the NASA Star Lab. In addition, upon admission, each child will be dressed with a pair of child sized safety glasses, a chemistry lab apron and a bag to collect candy and science goodies. Labs and classrooms will be open throughout the evening for students to explore. Outside children can also build and launch rockets. Each child will receive a card to be stamped in each room. At the end of the evening, the cards will go into a drawing for prizes, Mershon said.

Chemistry labs will offer a glow in the dark crime scene investigation, the opportunity to make slime, and demonstrations involving liquid nitrogen.

An anatomy lab will have dissections on display, a light box with broken bone x-rays and a “walking on bones” activity.  Children will receive an anatomy and physiology coloring book with information about professions to take home.

Information on carnivorous plants and stations offering plant facts will be available in the plant lab. Here, children also will be able to look into a dissecting scope and see plants up close. Children also will get to take home a venus flytrap to care for, Mershon said.

Organizers also plan to have jello molds of a brain, heart, severed hands, and skeleton.  Demonstrations on glass blowing, how crystals are formed, and the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide will also interest children.

“We even have someone bringing a live bald eagle,” Mershon said.

Parents or a legal guardian must attend Halloween Science Night with their children, as this is not a “drop off” event. Mershon says parents will be able to take photos of their “little scientist” at a “photo op” station.

Mershon said the evening’s events are funded by a Missouri Foundation for Health grant. This free program is sponsored by the Office of Extended and Continuing Education at Southeast Missouri State University, the Missouri Foundation for Health, the American Chemical Society, and the Missouri NASA Educator Resource Center. The program is presented by Southeast’s departments of chemistry and biology.

Pre-registration is encouraged by visiting http://www.semo.edu/continuinged/youth_17347.htm or by calling (573) 986-7399. The pre-registration deadline is Oct. 15.