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MatSci Club Visits Fourth Grade Classes

MatSci Club

On Tuesday, May 24, 10 MatSci club members participating in M.E.S.S. (Matsci Exposing Students to Science) took time out from busy end-of-quarter schedules to visit Dawes Elementary School in Evanston, where they demonstrated materials properties to three 4th grade classes.

Club members synthesized nylon, demonstrated the shape memory effect in NiTi wires, and levitated a magnet over a cooled superconductor. They generated electrical potentials using a Van de Graaff generator and demonstrated the effect of temperature changes on polymer properties by cooling rubber o-rings and neoprene rubber nails in liquid nitrogen. 

The reaction of the fourth graders was enthusiastic -- of the superconductor demonstration, one said, “It is the most awesome thing ever!” After the demonstrations, many of the fourth graders asked questions about the prospect of having a career as a scientist and how club members developed an interest in science.
The event was organized by sophomore Danni Jin. Participating MatSci club members included seniors Kelly Quinn, Philip Goins, Anthony Tan and Aaron Holsteen; sophomores Mirasbek Kuterbekov and Katie Jaycox; Weinberg sophomores Joy Lee and Japna Sethi; and graduate student Hongyi Xu.
The MatSci club has been conducting science outreach in Evanston and Skokie grade schools every year for more than a decade. The effort began as Project Boing-Boing in 2000, inspired by the book “Boing-Boing the Bionic Cat” by Larry Hench. Then-club member Leah Lucus (BS MSE, ‘01) discovered the book at the American Ceramics Society meeting and spear-headed the outreach effort. The club has received support for the effort from the Murphy Society.

- Kathleen Stair