GRASONVILLE — Grasonville Elementary School third- and fourth-graders gathered to see “Star Wars” themed science demonstrations by the Maryland Science Center Monday, Oct. 28, to inspire students.

Jacob Hippert and Hannah Dickmyer, science center external program educators, focused on Newton’s Laws of Physics with the aid of a pressure canon, liquid nitrogen, a set of billiard balls and even a hover craft to name just a few items.

With each experiment, the children were mesmerized and learned about the practical applications of science outside the classroom.

“I love the work we do at the center, and much of the programs we have are written to the next generation of (academic) science standards,” Dickmyer said. “We’re delivering content that’s exciting and engaging and fits with what students are getting in schools. This show was my summer project and the content was prevalent with physics, and we just wanted use ‘Star Wars’ since they know it.”

Tailoring a program to engage young students has become a cornerstone for many of these programs and also has been individually gratifying seeing children as engaged in academic topics, he said.

“Education is better when it’s fun,” said Hippert. “An easy way to do that is to be funny since these concepts become less scary and cold. Those jokes make it easer to interact with complicated scientific concepts.”

Dickmyer noted that if a student is compelled to pursue the sciences academically or professionally, science center external educators are simply proud to have played a role in process.

Even those who are simply awed by the visual results still walk away learning a valuable lesson in the application of scientific principles.

As for the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, a major expansion and renovation of the facility was completed in May 2004. New exhibitions were added on all levels as well as the addition of a permanent hall showcasing dinosaurs and earth sciences, and a dedicated gallery for housing temporary exhibitions.

Upgrades to the IMAX Theater introduced 3D film technology and improvements to the physical plant updated and enhanced visitor amenities and services. Today, “the Maryland Science Center continues to focus on remaining a vital community resource and economic development engine” according to the science center’s mission.

More information on the Maryland Science Center is available at www.mdsci.org.

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