Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Science Carnival 2014 at Cambridge Science Festival

2014 marks my third time participating in the Cambridge Science Festival public outreach event: The Science Carnival and Robot Zoo. It is exactly as awesome and cool sounding as it's title. This year I brought along Chemistry Ambassador superstar Dr. Al Hazari, who is widely recognized for his enthusiastic chemistry outreach. Dr. Hazari is a Helen M. Free Award recipient. The Helen M. Free award for Public Outreach recognizes outstanding achievements in the field of public outreach by a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS) who improves public recognition and appreciation for the contributions of chemistry.
Setting up the three ACS tables at 2014 #cambscifest Science Carnival
My daughters and I on our way to
work at the Science Carnival
We were placed indoors this year which I was secretly glad about since although it was a beautiful sunny Spring day in Cambridge, it can get breezy (cold!) on the tennis courts where we've been the last two years. We had three American Chemical Society tables in The Micro Zone. Dr. Hazari had his own table loaded with toys and various hands-on experiments. The experiments varied in complexity; for instance, my nine year old (pictured above left) and another volunteer's eleven year old (pictured above right) were able to conduct simple hands-on demonstrations for carnival go-ers.

Click here to download the
pdf handout
I setup my pH table. It's so simple, easy for people to understand and since the 2014 Chemists Celebrate Earth Day theme is Water, I brought some Cape Cod water samples and personally handed out 250 copies of the Chemists Celebrate Earth Day activity book to participants who came to my table and performed a pH experiment with litmus paper. I also brought vinegar, an energy drink, and ammonia containing window cleaner so those conducting the experiment could experience the range on the pH scale.
Note the train-the-trainer going on in the
background with Cosmo and Dr. Hazari (rainbow
lab coat)

Cosmo Sabatino, a member of the Northeastern Local Section of the American Chemical Society (NESACS) Public Relations Committee, worked the third table. After an exhilarating demo of Dr. Hazari's arsenal of outreach supplies, Cosmo chose the ones he wanted to use. I think his favorite was the Newton's Beads which defied gravity and stole the attention of passerbys. 

Cosmo was assisted by my daughter and then by Sonja Strah-Pleynet's daughter. Sonja and the young ladies worked all three tables and jumped in to help when we got inundated with a crowd which built steadily throughout the afternoon. The event was scheduled from 12pm-4pm but we had a throng of carnival attendees from 11:30am-4:40pm. We finally had to tell Dr. Hazari that it was, well, over. 

Dr. Hazari is famous for his rainbow lab coat AND his pink safety goggles
Cosmo reeling in the Newton's Beads for the next group
Getting in some one-on-one time before it got hectic

There was a steady crowd throughout the afternoon and before we knew it...

It was way past 4pm and we were still going...
It was time to put away the dolly and pack all this stuff up for Tennessee


Dr. Hazari and Jennifer Maclachlan Salute!
A wonderful ending to an amazing outreach weekend. Read about our teacher workshop the night before the science carnival. 

When Dr. Hazari returned to Tennessee, it was announced that he is the 2014 recipient of the Chancellor's Award. This Alumni Public Service Award honors a faculty or staff member whose work has made a significant impact on the Knoxville-area community.
Read about it here.















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