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A snow day, of sorts
No, it wasn't weather-related. It was the theme of Charles S. Rushe Middle School's first Family Academy Night.
By MICHELE MILLER, Times Staff Writer
Published December 12, 2007
[David Degner | Times]
Eighth-graders Erin Mauthner and Ashleigh Lemon, both 13, have a snowball fight with cotton balls in the hallway of Charles S. Rushe Middle School before Family Academy Night, which included educational activities, snow cones and a science fair.
LAND O'LAKES - It was Family Academy Night - the first one ever held at Charles S. Rushe Middle School - and Katarina and Alba Parise were enjoying a little role reversal of sorts.
It wasn't quite like the movie Freaky Friday, but here in Room 222 it was the daughter showing the mom the recipe - or rather the chemistry - for making "Scientific Snow."
Katarina, 12, dropped the powdery white substance into a plastic foam bowl, added a few droplets of water and then started mixing it up.
"See look, Mom - snow," she said as her mother, Alba, 48, started making her own batch. "It even feels a little cold like real snow."
"It" would be the mixture of sodium polyacrylate, a polymer also used in the making of disposable diapers, and a little water.
The snow-making activity was just one of many offered to families that turned out for what was billed as Rushe Snow Day, an event that had everyone taking a turn at being science students.
"It's fabulous to see the parents and the kids doing it together," said science teacher Karen Stewart as she handed out snow ingredients to the steady stream of kids and adults in her classroom.
A lot of folks were having fun while learning.
Take Yanick Jean-Baptiste, 45. She was getting directions from science teacher Lisa Moukawsher on how to make a Florida snow globe by mixing oil, water and glitter in a recycled water bottle.
The snow globe activity, although pretty and fun, was actually a lesson in density. If something floats in the water - say oil or glitter - then it's less dense than the water.
"We mothers are doing our own thing," said Jean-Baptiste, noting that her son, Joseph, was elsewhere. "It's good. It's good to be with the kids and out of the house."
Throughout the evening others milled about, taking turns at various science labs, munching on snow cones and perusing about 300 science projects lined up throughout the media center.
"It's all very interesting," said Angela Diaz, as she scanned the projects while her children, Erika, 9, and Emmanuel, 11, took turns in the computer lab. "I'm getting some good ideas here for the elementary science fair."
"It's a wonderful turnout for our first-ever Family Academy," said principal Dave Estabrook, who hosted similar events during his years as principal at Pine View Middle. "I'd venture to say there's well over 400 (people) here. It's a good learning experience. It's good to see people enjoying time as a family at a fun-filled activity."
These students were named winners of the Charles S. Rushe Middle School Science Fair and will go on to compete at the upcoming district event: Gregory Stannard, Michelle Minnick, Amber Garcia, Ryan Talburt, Katelyn Nguyen, Taylor Jones, Lauren Stoneley, James Stewart, Jennifer Levengood, Jillian Bush, Samantha Montoya and Carly Durden.