Hands-on science comes to library

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By Lisa Tetrault-Zhe

Hampton Union, July 22, 2014

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON — Lane Memorial Library was transformed into a science lab with the arrival of the SEE Mobile from the SEE Science Center in Manchester on Wednesday morning.

More than two dozen children were mesmerized watching SEE Science Center programs facilitator Glenna Lydick transform a turkey baster and ping-pong ball into a cannon that could shoot across the room.

She asked attendees how many of them had visited the museum in the past; more than half had.

"We're a hands-on science center," Lydick explained. "You can touch pretty much anything you want to. We also have the largest mini-scale permanent LEGO display in the world. We have 8,000 LEGO people in it. It's a replica of the Amoskeag Mill."

Head of children's services Paulina Shadowens said she was spurred to include the SEE Mobile in the summer reading program this year based on feedback.

"This is the first year we've had them here," Shadowens said. "I'd heard great things about them through word of mouth, both from other librarians and from patrons. So I wanted to bring them in."

For her first experiment, Lydick held up two identical pieces of paper. She asked children how to get one to fall onto the ground faster than the other. They had several ideas, which she demonstrated, including blowing on one, dropping one before the other, pushing down on one, crumpling one into a ball and making one heavier than the other.

One child said she had previously been to the center on a school field trip.

"I think it's kind of cool; she does interesting stuff," said 8-year-old Laura Hyvari of Hampton. "I thought the cannonball would go farther than it did. I tried the static electricity ball when I went there on a field trip and my hair got all messed up."

Her sister said she liked seeing the science experiments up close.

"I really liked the cannonball one," said 4-year-old Morgan Hyvari.

Lydick also explained the process of combustion to the group.

"In order for things to burn, you need three things," Lydick said. "First of all, oxygen, which is all around us. Second, a fuel source, which can be in a state of solid, liquid or gas. Finally, a fuse or ignition source, such as a spark, flint or lighter."

She used a flammable solid, lycopodium powder, which she poured into a funnel above a candle that she lit in a graduated cylinder to demonstrate.

Shadowens said she was quite impressed with the performance.

"I like that she was very complex, the ideas she presented were age-appropriate, and there was so much audience participation," Shadowens said. "She did a great job of keeping them interested. I look forward to having them back next year."

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