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February 27, 2013

Purdue Physics Outreach teaches Boy Scout troop range of scientific topics

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue University Physics Outreach team will host guided physics experiments for Boy Scout Troop 154 at 6 p.m. Friday (March 1) at Roosevelt Middle School in Monticello.

The group, which in part aims to engage K-12 students in the physical sciences, will hold the event at the troop's all-night lock-in.

Purdue students will train parent volunteers to assist with the program, and parents will help at stations consisting of an experiment with everyday items.

Small groups of scouts will be asked an initial question about each experiment and will have to explain what they think will happen and why. Some common scientific concepts to be dealt with are components and characteristics of circuits, laws of conservation (energy and momentum), naturally occurring forces, and optics and visual phenomena.

Purdue physics majors Chris Kraner and Aaron Zimmerman helped create the project for their service-learning class. Zimmerman, who plans to make a career as an informal science educator, helped put together many of the experiments. Four other physics undergraduates will be at the program to help present and train parents.

Though the program's main goal is to help younger students understand and engage in physics, the event will be a learning experience for all involved.

"This opportunity highlights the epitome of student-directed science outreach," said David Sederberg, Physics Outreach director. "It highlights the benefits of service-learning courses, and it provides parents opportunities to learn and participate in teaching their own children. Above all, it provides the participating scouts the chance to have fun learning about a broad range of scientific concepts."

The outreach team will begin prepping parents at 4 p.m. the day of the lock-in and will wrap up the event at 8 p.m. with a group discussion.

Writer: Morgan Stephens, 765-490-4855, MorganLStephens@gmail.com

Sources:  David Sederberg, 219-406-6779, dsederbe@purdue.edu

Tim Brouk, 765-496-1682, tbrouk@purdue.edu