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Photo Gallery: Science Fair Inspired By Harry Potter Delights Children

Modeled after Harry Potter ‘potions’ classes, event shows science is fun
May 25th, 2011 by 

Holy Cross students, dressed as characters from the Harry Potter novels, introduce themselves.

From left, Mike Haydu ’11 as Harry Potter, Lindsey Tonge ’11 as Hermione Granger, Brandi Ramos ’12 as Hannah Abbot and Connor LaClair ’11 as Cedric Diggory. Tonge and Ramos are co-chairs of the Science Ambassadors.

Kids can create their own silly putty at the Silly Putty Table using glue, borax, water and food coloring.

At the Silver and Golds Penny Reaction table, pennies are placed in boiling water with zinc and zinc sulfate which causes the coin to develop a silver layer. It fades away within days.

At the Invisible Ink table, students write with invisible ink before Gordon Burnett ’12, dressed as Lee Jordan, makes the ink appear using chemicals.

At the Shrinky Dink table, Kristina Xega ’11 shows what how much a piece of plastic shrunk after being placed in a toaster oven. Children draw on the plastic before it gets warped and get to keep the shrunken piece.

Science Ambassador Nick Drane ’11 demonstrates the moment of inertia to a student who is standing on a spinning turntable while holding a spinning bike wheel at the Physics table.

Also at the Physics table, a child holds a spinning gyroscope using her index finger.

A science ambassador holds silly putty.

Ramos shows children how weight is distributed and how balance is kept.

A child looks at illusions at the Psychology table, as science ambassador Kat Chiong ’11, right, explains how the brain perceives objects.

Jude Kelley, assistant professor of chemistry, as James Potter, drops a tube of Mentos mints in a two-liter bottle of Coke for the Coke and Mentos Geyser demonstration held outside of the Hogan Campus Center.

Tonge and Professor Kelley stand back as the geyser erupts.

A bird keeps its balance because its weight is equally distributed, explains Ramos, who demonstrates by holding a plastic “balancing bird” on her finger at the Physics table.

Tonge shows how cabbage juice works as an acid base indicator during the “Snapes Dungeon” show on the Hogan Ballroom stage following the hands-on demonstrations.

Sammie Ziegler as Luna Lovegood makes Hippogriff toothpaste by mixing dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, potassium iodide and food coloring.

The solution turns into a giant column of bubbles that looks similar to toothpaste.

About 200 Worcester children in grades pre-K through eight and their parents packed the Hogan Campus Center Ballroom earlier this month for “Hogwarts at Holy Cross: Snape’s Dungeon.” The free event featured hands-on science experiments and an interactive presentation by Holy Cross faculty and students.

In its 13th year, the Hogwarts event is organized by the Holy Cross Science Ambassadors with the goal of making science fun for children of all ages. The theme of this event was “Snape’s Dungeon,” modeled after the “potions” classes offered at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter series.

Holy Cross students were dressed in wizard attire and conducted “potions” chemistry experiments that included objects changing color, fizzling, and sparking. Children also dressed up for the evening of “magical” science experimentation.

The Science Ambassadors are a group of more than 60 Holy Cross students who work with local children to develop an interest in the sciences. They put on science shows for children of all ages throughout the year, both at community schools and at Holy Cross. Hogwarts is the largest and most popular of the events.

Read more about the event in the Telegram & Gazette.

Photography by Dan Vaillancourt

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