Music created from bone conduction, an infrared light lounge, smoke ring target practice and
mind-numbing math problems are just a hint of what is in store for children during Allan Hancock College’s Friday Night Science. The annual event will take place on Friday, May 5, from 6-8:30 p.m., starting in and around the science building (building M) on the college’s Santa Maria campus. Organizers say the free event is a fun way to get children interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, better known as the STEM fields.
“We have new hands-on demonstrations and reworked some of the favorites to ensure this will be an epic night where science and fun collide in a memorable way,” said Rob Jorstad, physics instructor and creator of Friday Night Science. “We guarantee no two Friday Night Sciences will ever be the same.”
The special community event, which draws more than 1,500 people every year, is made possible through a grant from Ted and Cheryl Maddux.
Dozens of demonstrations will be on display to interest any age group, from kids to teenagers and even adults. There will be a new jumbo kaleidoscope, a catenary arch, Coanda basketball, a slime station, a dissection table, and a walk-in pinhole camera just to name a few. Each demonstration is designed to demonstrate a scientific principle. For example, the Coanda basketball exhibit demonstrates how flowing air is affected by a giant levitating beach ball.
The ball deflects the air stream and, as dictated by Newton’s third law, the deflected air stream exerts equal but opposite forces on the ball.
“Rather than just telling students the answer, they will enjoy hands-on and interactive methods. There is no better way to learn about science,” said Jorstad. “There will be crazy lights, mirrors, sounds, pretty much crazy everything when it comes to our demonstrations.”
This year, physics will rule the main stage where college professors will entertain the crowd with captivating demonstrations.
“The show will start off with some inertia classics, then move on to the amazing power of pressure. This is a brand new show with a mix of some classics and some crazy new stuff,” added Jorstad.
The Santa Maria Valley Makerspace program will have a strong presence at the event. As part of a statewide initiative, the program focuses on preparing students for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) careers through hands-on, content-rich design projects and curriculum. Students will be out in full force at the event providing activities like laser engraving, building tin can robots and tearing apart old computers to see what is inside.
Students will be able to check out the college’s state-of-the-art Industrial Technology Complex. Students can tour the labs, see welding and automotive technology demonstrations, and test their creativity in the Architecture Lab. The industrial technology department includes eight programs including auto tech, auto body, welding, machining and manufacturing, electronics, engineering, architecture and apprenticeship.
Nearly 100 Hancock students help design, test and build the experiments and demonstrations. Many of them will attend the event to run demonstrations and to act as translators for Spanish speaking guests. ASL interpreters will also be on hand for the even.
Students will be selling tri-tip sandwiches, tacos, and hot dogs to raise funds for their student clubs.
To help K-12 teachers, Jorstad also created an assignment to give their students who attend Friday Night Science. A copy of the assignment is available on the Friday Night Science webpage, www.hancockcollege.edu/fridaynightscience . Demonstrators will also hand out proof of attendance tickets to students during the event. Children under 16 years of age must be accompanied by adults at all times.
The public will also be able to enjoy the activities provided by Makerspace at a separate event co-hosted at the Santa Maria Public Library and Santa Maria Valley Discover Museum on Saturday, May 6.