Writing the “Family Time” column has been a gift. I have been able to connect myself and readers to so many wonderful events, activities and opportunities, and the people and organizations that take the time and make the effort to make it all happen. I will miss it. But after somewhere close to 15 years (I never missed a week, not even to have a baby — who just turned 13), it’s time to bring my column to an end. Thank you to the readers, the Post Bulletin and Forum Communications for a wonderful opportunity.
Science takes center stage at Rochester Community and Technical Center’s annual Physics Demonstration Show. A production of the school’s Engineering and Physics Club, the show is designed to share science in a fun and interesting way with family members of all ages.
“The show is all about the science behind the onstage experiments,” said Rod Milbrandt, RCTC physics instructor and Physics and Engineering Club faculty advisor. “You’ll see the experiments and hear from myself and club members about the science that makes them work.”
The hour-plus show features a dozen-plus experiments (many built by the club’s dozen-plus members), including a Van de Graff generator (put your hands on the sphere and your hair stands on end) and Tesla coils (watch it produce colorful arcs of electricity).
“A lot of the experiments ask for audience participation. We ask an audience member with long hair to come up and try the Van de Graff. We invite as many audience members as possible to stand on a sheet of plywood and try to pop the dozens of balloons underneath,” Milbrandt said. “It’s really a lot of fun. It’s hands-on. We do our best to get the audience involved and interacting.”
The Physics Demonstration Show is a fundraiser for the club. Proceeds from the tickets go to help send club members on an annual club field trip.
“Most of the club students are majoring in physics or engineering. They’ll go on to finish their degrees at a four-year university,” Milbrandt said. “Building and presenting the experiments for the physics show are part of the learning process. The students get a lot out of it. When you teach something to others it helps the science sink in. Our field trip will take us to a national lab or industry lab in a different part of the country. The past two years, we’ve gone to labs in Boulder (Colo.). Regardless of where we go this year, it will be an opportunity to see science in action.”
Tickets are available at the door. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults. Bring a canned, non-perishable food item for $1 off your ticket. Parents are advised that there are a few experiments that produce loud noises.
Lindy Lange is a licensed school social worker. “Family Time” appears every Wednesday. This is her last column.
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