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High school students lead science night at Coal Mountain
Sarah Hickman pulls a part some slime after mashing some colors together to create a deep maroon during science night Tuesday at Coal Mountain Elementary. - photo by Micah Green

NORTH FORSYTH — They played with slime, raced rockets and froze ice cream. And although it may seem otherwise, they weren’t simply kids playing after school.

The slime was split into the three primary colors that the Coal Mountain Elementary School students combined to create secondary colors.

The rockets exploded horizontally across the floor, charged by a chemical reaction. And for the ice cream, they used salt to freeze the liquid cream and sugar by hand.

North Forsyth High School’s Science Ambassadors Club students held a family science and engineering night Tuesday at Coal Mountain, splitting into groups to teach the young students about facets of the fields in a fun, hands-on experience.

“To get them to do something hands-on that’s not pressing a button on a video game, it’s great,” said the parents of fourth-graders Nicolas and Jacob Ferrugia.

The brothers jumped around in the Light Paintin’ room, using the dark classroom to capture streaks of color from glow sticks.

Their older brother, Tristan Tyler, is in 11th grade at North and led the Foil Boats room, they said. So the event brought the whole family together in an educational setting that they were actually excited to attend.

Farrah Nawar, a senior at North, explained how by simply letting a third-grader bounce light off a wall with a laser, they can learn about reflection and light.

“[Science Ambassadors] try to influence littler kids into jobs later on,” she said. “We’re trying to inspire them in creative ways.”

Sixty-five Science Ambassadors ran 16 stations, introducing students to the subjects through activities like Bug Buzzers and Hovercraft rooms.

Denise Webb, a teacher at Coal Mountain, said she and Donna Governor and Christina Curtis, both science teachers at North, started the program last year. They trained their students to gear a family science night to elementary school-aged learners.

“They really run the show on their own. That’s our main goal,” Webb said. “I want them to find out what works in their science investigations and maybe what they need to fine tune for next time.”

While they held one night last year, the students will visit Silver City, Matt, Sawnee, Chattahoochee and Chestatee Elementary schools through April.

Having the older and younger students interact in this setting benefits both groups, she said. The elementary school children are positively reinforced to enjoy science, while the high schoolers become role models.

Drey Woodson, a 10th grader, explained his process of putting two primary colors of putty-like slime into a plastic bag, asking kids to mix them together in their hands and “see what other colors they get.”

“It’s about giving them a science-based education and teaching more students about science,” Woodson said. “And it’s just having fun with the kids.”