Students go on an Ed-venture in Boca

Jonathan D. Marcus, Forum Publishing Group
Sun Sentinel
April 6, 2012

Families learned all about science during a recent Boca Raton event.

The third annual Explorium Ed-venture Day at Sugar Sand Park offered hands-on activities, team games and exposure to community organizations that use science in their work.

The Children's Science Explorium is an educational facility within the park's community center that offers educational exhibits and programs. The event was staged on a field adjacent to the community center, where a stage, activity stations and booths for 16 exhibitors were assembled.

"This event directly speaks to the curiosity, the investigative nature of kids, and gets them interested in science in a fun, exploratory way and shows them how science is vital to our everyday life," said Stacee Lanz, the park's special events coordinator.

The explorium's reflective telescope, which is normally used to view the moon at night, was moved outside and fitted with a special solar filter, making it safe for people to look at the sun.

Explorium exhibit coordinator Chip Robelen said the telescope provided views of sun spots, areas of the sun with slightly different temperatures that appear black.

"I saw the sun's sun spots," said 12-year-old Boca resident Rachel Reyblat. "I'm learning more things about science and discovering new things."

Additional activities featured a fossil dig pit with buried shark teeth, snake and fish vertebrae and other small items for kids who found them to keep, balloon helicopter kits, puzzles, and a tot zone for small children.

The Gee Whiz Quiz Show for kids ages 7 through 12 pitted teams against each other to answer science trivia questions and perform "fun and wacky" physical challenges, said explorium curator Heather Peete.

Trivia questions came from four categories: geology; forces, motion and energy; chemistry; and biology. Some of the physical challenges involved flying paper airplanes into basket hangars to demonstrate the principle of lift, popping water balloons, and eating whipped cream pies to uncover a hidden surprise.

Exhibitors included the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County, and the Boca Raton Police Services Department.

The historical society's station offered a look at Native American archaeological artifacts and items like a reproduction of an original shark tooth club found in Key Marco in 1896 that the Calusa Indians of southwest Florida used as a weapon, said curator of education Richard Marconi. The organization also provided free kits to make ancient Native American olive shell necklaces.

Kids, many with their parents or grandparents in tow, roamed the field populated with exhibitor booths.

Tom Skramstad, a part-time Boca resident from Minneapolis, attended with his grandsons, Tom and Truman Morsman, also of Minneapolis. They stopped at the police services department's booth, where crime scene technician Darcy Cope gave them a primer on fingerprinting.

"We're going from booth to booth, and learning here … is pretty interesting," Skramstad said.

Skramstad said his grandsons like coming to the explorium when they visit.

"They learn how things work, how the world works, and how the laws of physics … make things move," he said.

For more information about the explorium, view or call 561-347-3912.

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