It was a pirate’s life for the Harker Heights Library Science Club on Sept. 13 as they learned about buoyancy and how pirate ships were able to sail across the deep, blue sea.
Amanda Hairston, children’s librarian and the program’s coordinator, introduced swashbucklers Josh Wright, 13, Donavan Chavez, 3, Christian Lawrence, 9, Cordé Lawrence, 7, Carter Lawrence, 3, Erin Downie, 4, Cordelia Downie, 5, and Jaelynn Duval, 8, to Archimedes’ principle, which states that the upward buoyant force that is exerted on a body immersed in a liquid, whether fully or partially submerged, is equal to the weight of the liquid that the body displaces and acts in the upward direction at the center of mass of the displaced liquid.
To test the principle, the group played “Sink or Float” to determine which materials, including rubber ducks, Styrofoam balls, wooden blocks, and paperclips would sink to the bottom of a tub of water or float upon its surface.
Hairston values the lessons she learns alongside her students.
“I’m always learning new things, too,” she said. “A lot of times, I have to research and make sure I can get the information to be understandable for a small child, so I really love that I get to learn along with them during the planning phases as well as with them.”
To finish off the experiment, the group crafted small boats out of Styrofoam, paper plates, tooth picks, and paper and sailed them in the tub.
“With science, there’s so many different fields that it almost makes it endless as far as the possibilities of what we can do with the kids,” Hairston said. “We work on a lot of things and it is only a thirty minute program so it is a pretty quick, intensive snippet of science.
“It’s almost like guerilla science; there’s a quick lesson and then we get our hands dirty, so it’s exciting for them because they’re never sure.”
Hairston’s goal for the children is that science will be fun and easy to grasp.
“What we really want them to take away is that science is accessible to all ages,” she said. “Science is for everyone: girls, boys, young, old, and it doesn’t have to be hard for them. We live with these concepts every day and they don’t realize that they’re doing something so scientific or so hard to explain. I always want us to take it further and learn more.”
Upcoming lessons are anticipated to be Batman, Fall, and apple themed.
Science Club meets at the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library every Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. The program incorporates different branches of science such as chemistry, physics, anatomy, mathematics, food and art for children to gain a greater understanding of the field.