Science made fun

Area students learn about various aspects of science and nature during annual SWWC conference at SMSU

MARSHALL – Area kindergartners through eighth-graders learned about birds, bees, robots and radiology Wednesday.

The Southwest West Central Service Cooperative presented its 22nd annual Science and Nature conference at Southwest Minnesota State University.

Andrea Anderson, student activities coordinator, was pleased with the turnout.

“This was the biggest conference ever,” she said. “We had a total of 1,540 students and chaperones.”

Presenters from all around the region brought in “all kinds of cool stuff,” Anderson said, to demonstrate science and technology including giant balloons and aquariums.

“We had some really amazing new topics this year, which included baby farm animals, Raven Aerostar helium balloons, wind power, solar power, sphero robots, about your heart with a large blow up heart, exercise science and honey bees,” she said. “The day went really well, and it is so fun to see the kids having fun and learning at the same time.”

Lakeview third-grader Kassidy Ebnet attended a session called “Science Magic” in which food and drinks were used to demonstrate scientific properties.

Ebnet enjoyed what happened when presenter Jerry Wenzel dropped a Mentos into a coke bottle.

“It became a volcano which erupted,” she said.

Ebnet’s mother, Patty Ebnet, who also brought her other daughter Mallory, a sixth-grader, to the conference, appreciated Wenzel’s demonstration of how much sugar is in cola.

He also used potatoes to convert hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water, Patty Ebnet said.

Kassidy Ebnet also attended “Sssensational Snake Art” presented by Melanie Schmidt from Mankato Public Schools/Community Education. Schmidt provided sticks found in nature that students could make into their own exotic snake.

After painting their snake, the students answered trivia questions by reading “interesting facts” about various snakes, turtles and lizards.

The team who answered the most questions received a prize – “chocolate to help you through the day,” said Schmidt.