Hello MosSE Readers!
This spring outreach tour has reminded me there is something magical in the varsity gymnasium in a rural school. It’s the school spirit on every wall. It’s the gleaming wood floors and bleacher seating that hosts entire communities. When you walk into these gyms, you can feel it; you almost hear the cheers and excitement echoing. We at spectrUM know all too well, athletics aren’t the only thing that can fill the gym with raucous excitement. That magic, that excitement- it can be for science, too!
Of course, spectrUM’s Hands on Health exhibit visits the gym equipped with a secret weapon, one capable of turning “science is boring” into “cool!” “wow!” and “awesome!”
“What is this secret weapon?” you ask.
I answer, “Science has the almighty eyeball.”
Our eyeball dissection never fails to draw an enthusiastic response from the crowd. Learning that your eyeball is filled with a crystal clear gelatinous goo called the viterouse humor- COOL! Visualizing your pupil as more than a black circle- as an actual window that lets light into your eye- WOW! And what could be more AWESOME than taking a look behind a cow’s retina to see the ultra vibrant tapetum, a crazy concentration of color and reflectivity that explains that deer-in- headlights glow and why many animals can see better at night? Well, take a look at the pictures, and then you tell me!
We saw almost 200 students in our day at Cascade, often with as many as 48 at a time! At this rate it can be hard to get everyone a good view of that vitreouse humor. We had no problem in Cascade, however, thanks to a beautifully big gymnasium and some excellent help from the High School Honors Society. This group of Honors kids jumped right in as science educators, even taking up the scalpel to dissect eyeballs. Thanks, guys! You were a phenomenal help all day!
Also, thanks to Jennifer, who first found out about the spectrUM outreach program when researching opportunities for Cascade’s after-school program. What a great idea! The after-schoolers were able to visit our Hands on Health exhibits twice, explore them all in depth, and bring their parents through at the end of their day. An extra thanks to our educator hosts, Becky and Estelle, who graciously opened their homes to us weary road trippers. The conversation and homey atmosphere was much appreciated.
Our stop in Cascade was powered by the Cascade PTO and spectrUM’s “Science for All” scholarship fund. For more information on spectrUM’s Science for All scholarships and opportunities for giving, visit : http://spectrum.umt.edu/index.html