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Science amazes kids at special event

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
Oct. 28, 2012 at 5:28 a.m.
Updated Oct. 29, 2012 at 5:29 a.m.

Janelle Oldfather, 11, holds Lucky, an Eastern box turtle from the Brackenridge Recreation Complex at the Amazing Science Adventure, a free family event held at the Hiller House in Victoria on Sunday.

For many children, vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce is a popular afternoon snack.

But when liquid nitrogen is a main ingredient, blending ice cream in a mixing bowl becomes an opportunity to educate children about the magic of science.

"I find it amazing," said 10-year-old Morgan Meyer, whose mother, Brenda Phipps, helped organize the Amazing Science Adventure Day at the Hiller House on Sunday, in conjunction with the Victoria 4-H. "This is why I like science."

Morgan's friend, 9-year-old Jacob Kelley, joined in watching the cream mixture turn to a vanilla solid.

"I find this scientific because when you make it, it blows your mind," he said.

The Amazing Science event also featured live demonstrations geared toward children on animal science, robotics, renewable energy, computer technology and engineering.

It's an event that's been in the making for about a year, said Phipps, who desired to help organize a citywide science event that would encourage other children like Morgan in their science and robotics interests.

"It's all hands-on, and each station is something different for them to try," Phipps said.

More than 100 guests attended the event, which featured about 12 stations of science and technology-based fun.

One of the featured stations used LEGO robotics to demonstrate how a robot can navigate itself out of a wooden maze.

"This is about demonstrating the challenges and the capabilities of robotics," said Alireza Tavakkoli, University of Houston-Victoria assistant professor of computer science. "We can use things like this to encourage children to be interested in science and show them how it works in the world" around them.

That won't be a problem for Morgan, who already knows he will one day pursue a career in science and technology.

"I want to be an astrophysicist, inventor, scientist and a successful businessman," Morgan said. "I also want to be a rocket designer for NASA. I want to go to college, and it will take me about 12 years ... but I don't think I want to be an engineer."

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