A public service activity to promote scientific knowledge took place at Xianlin Campus, Nanjing Normal University on December 9th to 10th, 2017. Nearly 200 elementary school students attended this activity. They, together with college students and professors, embarked on a scientific journey toreveal the mysteries of physics and to arouse their desire for scientific inquiry.
This activity, with the main attraction a “pop up” physics laboratory opened by NNU primarily for elementary school students, created an air of mystique which made many curious to see what it was all about. Professors demonstrated experiments and college student volunteers stood by guiding all these excited young participants in DIY projects. This activity included a series of open and interactive programs such as visitinga physics lab, making soap, jelly, bookmarks and assembling cars and Christmas trees.
In the physics lab, children got a glimpse of how high-tech vehicles work by taking a close look at an experiment that showed how a superconducting maglev caroperated at the temperature of liquid nitrogen. When liquid nitrogen was poured into the track and the car began to run the elementary school students could not help but cheer.
When it came time to explain the electrostatic phenomenon, one of children participated in a 100, 000-volt electrostatic demonstration and upon seeing her hair stand straight up in the air as a result of static electricity the others applauded for her courage to volunteer for such a demonstration. Many other interesting experiments were conducted to vividly illustrate the physics of force, heat, light and magnetism. The elementary school students were immersed in the activity and thereby enchanted by science.
For the DIY part, guided by the college volunteers, children made soap, jelly, book marks and assembled cars and Christmas trees. Watching their kids actively asking questions and being fully absorbed in DIY projects, the parents felt great satisfaction and were impressed by how engaging science can be.
This public service activity entertained and educated the young participants. Both children and parents spoke highly of it and an overseas returnee commented that “it is the interactive and participatory style combined with a professional explanation thatmade this activity outshine all the science and technology museums he has ever visited.”