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Middle schoolers go in search of inner scientist
0413 MATHSCIENCE snake
Julie Ray from the Raptor Center lets student pet a corn snake, among other reptiles, amphibians and birds of prey they brought to the ECMS Math/Science Night. - photo by Photo by Calli Arnold

Hundreds of Effingham County Middle School students stayed after school not for detention, but in the name of science on April 8.

At the fourth ECMS Math and Science Night, 40 stations were set up throughout the school where students could view and interact with clubs and professionals who utilize science every day. They were able to see how science is beneficial and fun.

Outside, students watched bottle rockets being launched into the air, dug for fossils and checked out how far a spud can fly from a potato cannon.
Inside, students were able to pet snakes, see a barred owl and learn about all kinds of predators native to Georgia from the Georgia Southern University Raptor Center booth. But the Tybee 4-H Center brought out their reptiles as well, encouraging students to expand their habitat knowledge in their 4-H environmental education programs, summer camps and ecology classes for kids.

In addition to getting their blood pressure checked and seeing the innards of a dissected cat, Georgia Power brought out its Power Town, a miniature model that shows the dangers of down power lines and the importance of electrical safety for the students. Meanwhile, the ECHS Calculus Club pushed smiling children across the gym on a hovercraft, and the GSU Chemistry Club simulated the West Virginia mine explosion by adding calcium carbonate to ice, which turns to methane and adding flame.

The grant funds usually used for the event dried up last year, forcing teachers and administrators to decide whether to cancel it or find another way to fund it.

“Our kids loved it so much that we decided to use some of our Title 1 funds this year to fund (Math/Science Night),” said Kelly Rahn, an ECMS science teacher and co-coordinator of the affair. “The vendors mostly donate their time to do this for the kids.”

Rahn and math teacher Trish Thompson tried to cover just about every type of science, and Rahn said they had almost no behavior problems because the students are genuinely engaged in each of the stations.