The 19th annual ExploratoRio in B8 last Wednesday taught elementary school students from across the Sacramento area the wonders of physics through exhibits made in
Dean Baird’s Physics class.
Preparation for the exhibits began before February Break.
“We started planning before Ski Week,” Baird said.
“Pretty much every day after school for all of March one or two exhibits came in. The students and I would talk about them and make sure they understood the physics behind it all. It takes 6 weeks of preparation for a short show.”
When the big day came, Baird’s students welcomed 300 to 400 elementary students from schools around Rio. Dozens of exhibits taught them physics related concepts.
“Our project is that we have a fish tank filled with dry ice and we’re spraying the dry ice with water,” junior Erin Cherovsky said.
“This creates a vapor. Then the kids can blow bubbles and the bubbles float on the denser layer of the vapor. There is a semi permeable membrane and then, finally, the bubbles sink.”
“My exhibit is called the Bernoulli Levitator,” senior Nate Ansbach said.
“It illustrates changes from high to low pressure. I’m just really excited everyone’s enjoying their projects.
The smiles are what we do this for.”
The enjoyment of showing the kids something new and unique was echoed by students throughout the day.
“It’s always fun for me to bond with my buddies in physics,” senior John Price said.
“It’s fun making the kids smile and giggle.”
“We have a bubble tray that makes larger bubbles than usual because they include a sugar molecule that makes them more prone to expand,” junior Darian Rosengard said.
“Mr. Baird has been there a long time and has done an amazing job putting this all together. It gives kids hands on experiences who may not be able to go to the ExploratoRio in San Francisco. The chance to come to their future high school and see this is great.”
Baird sees ExploratorRio as a great opportunity to introduce kids to physics and to make it fun and relatable for them.
“We’ve been doing this every year since 1994,” Baird said.
“It was only a few years in that we discovered we should invite fourth graders. When you’re in the fourth grade, a high school student is like a god. When you’re a high school student, you think you’re a god. So everybody’s on the same page.”
Baird loves meeting people who one day will become future students of his.
“I have pictures of when Walker Hershey and Carly Tyer were here about eight years ago,” Baird said.
All seemed to agree that the annual ExploratoRio event educated, inspired, and gave everyone something to be happy about.
“It’s fun seeing the kids reactions to our experiment,” junior Matt Dodge said.
“They look like they’re having a good time.”