Jessie Torres nervously gripped a light bulb and held it away from her body. The 14-year-old winced as Army Sgt. Robert Salek slowly moved an electrical apparatus toward the bulb, lighting it up.
Pupils at Riverside Middle School look at a plasma ball during an electricity demonstration in the National Science Center's Mobile Discovery Center in Evans.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The eighth-grader at Riverside Middle School took part in the demonstration of wireless induction conducted by Salek inside the National Science Center's Mobile Discovery Center.
"I was nervous," Jessie said. "I felt a tingle in my hands and almost dropped (the light bulb). Then it just kind of went numb. It was cool."
Hands-on projects that make science "cool" is the mission for Salek and his partner, Army Sgt. Robert Carter.
"It's good for kids to get out of the classroom sometimes and not just learn about science, but see it in action," Carter said.
The duo, both officially stationed at Fort Knox in Tennessee, have traveled from South Carolina to California and several points in between since August. They tour the country holding demonstrations at schools in a nearly $1 million tractor-trailer, which has been converted into a mobile science lab.
The Mobile Discovery Center, which officially belongs to Augusta's Fort Discovery, came back to the area Wednesday and Thursday to conduct experiments in sound waves, infrared rays, static electricity, electric current and light to nearly 400 pupils of Riverside Middle.
The trip was made possible because of Kimberly Wahus, an eighth-grade science teacher at Riverside, who won a raffle at a teachers exposition last fall at Fort Discovery.
"We talk about a lot of stuff in class, but we don't have those kinds of materials and capabilities to do some of those demonstrations," Wahus said. "It's neat that they can finally see stuff now."
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