'Holy Scorpion!' Students teach science to their peers

Mar. 26, 2014 @ 09:14 AM

Volcanoes erupted. Small black scorpions turned blue. Mouse ribcages were plucked from owl pellets, and all the while, Buff the stuffed owl watched over the “Scorpions, Owls and Bears, Oh My!” science festival.

The Catawba Science Center invaded Hudson Middle School on Tuesday, and will again today, with several stations of science displays. There is one major difference, however, that makes this festival special, said Aaron Abernathy, an educator from the Catawba Science Center.

“This is the first time I’ve had middle-schoolers teaching my stations,” he said.

Seventh-grade students taught their fellow classmates as well as sixth- and eighth-grade students at the different stations. The scene was a bit chaotic as the station leaders tried to manage their boisterous peers.

Benjamin Reed, 13, said, “You really don’t know how to act as a teacher to your peers.”

The students talked about matter, density, geysers, volcanoes, the color scheme of the rainbow, and adaptation through the use of several types of hands-on activities. One station had a working volcano through the use of baking soda and vinegar. Another allowed students to pick through owl pellets to find the remains of an owl’s lunch. A favorite station housed a scorpion, whose shiny, black exoskeleton glowed blue under a black light.

Seventh-grade science teacher Tammy Knight said the festival is an exciting activity because it allows students to encounter “hands-on inquiries” and gives the station leaders a chance to shine.

“They were hand-picked. They’re good students that can demonstrate and lead, show science leadership,” Knight said.

All of the equipment was brought in by the Catawba Science Center as part of their outreach programs.