Oh Wow! science center brings lesson to students at Leetonia school gym

LEETONIA- Students at Leetonia schools on Tuesday were busy building motors in the middle school gym.

Oh Wow! The Roger and Gloria Jones Children Center for Science and Technology in Youngstown visited the school, offering fifth- and sixth-grade students a hands-on lesson in electromagnetism. The event was held in conjunction with the Leetonia Community Public Library.

With assistance from high school volunteers, the students made mini motors that emphasized the science of electromagnetism using a kit designed by the Youngstown Warren Inventors Association. To build the motors students used simple household materials including AA batteries, a 3-volt cell battery, LED diodes, a neodymium magnet, a screw and pieces of copper wire. The students were able to build three different machines with the materials, and were given the kits to take home to continue experimenting.

According to Audra Carlson, Oh Wow education manager, the program is a Make It! program at Oh Wow and Leetonia schools is the first of the center’s effort to expand its outreach.

“We realize how hard it is for schools to make it to the center, so this is a way to bring our hands-on activities to them,” Carlson said.

Carlson said she felt the program went very well.

“We were able to present a difficult concept in a completely new way than most of them would have had the opportunity to learn it in,” Carlson explained. “It’s a hands-on way for them to hopefully grasp the concept a little more easily.”

The program was made possible through the efforts of Library Director Lisa Rohrbaugh, who proposed the idea to Carlson and the science teachers at Leetonia. Teachers Heidi George, fifth grade, and Marcia Bable, sixth grade, helped organize the event. An anonymous donation from the community, as well as donations from volunteers and library patrons, made it possible for all students in both grades to participate at a minimal fee.

Considering an increase in state standards as well as upcoming testing, the program fit well with the students’ current lessons, George said.

“With electromagnetism, you get more from it when you can do something with it,” she said. “[The program] is also a nice break from the rigorous preparation for testing. They’ve been so involved, so focused (in the program), they haven’t even been aware of what is going on around them.”

Rohrbaugh said that she was excited the library could help provide such a unique opportunity for the students.

“Parents probably won’t drive to downtown Youngstown, so we wanted to bring [Oh Wow] down here,” she explained. “The teachers were really excited and I’m glad we were all able to cooperate and get it done.”

The Oh Wow center is located at 11 W. Federal St. For hours and other information about the center visit www.ohwowkids.org. The center will host a Make It! activity of weather tools from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at a cost of $2 additional to the $8 admission fee.

Kevin Howell can be reached at khowell@salemnews.net