22 October 2014

Chills & thrills for kids at MagLab Spooky Science Show

The fun starts Oct. 28 at 5 p.m.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Are you ready for some slimy science? Science that glows or turns bloody red?

If so, then you're ready for the MagLab's Spooky Science Show!

This year, on Oct. 28, the lab is hosting two shows, each featuring several hands-on experiments for students in elementary- and middle-school. The first show will start at approximately 6 p.m. Seating is limited, and it's first come, first served.

Liquid nitrogen demonstration at the 2013 Spooky Science Night.Liquid nitrogen demonstration at the 2013 Spooky Science Night.

Parking is also free and available in front of, and around, the lab as well as across the street. After you arrive, get the free tickets for the show you and your kids want to attend; parents should plan to stay with their children for the show, but need not participate.

If you come early, after you get your tickets, grab dinner from one of several food trucks in the main parking lot. Food vendors will be ready to serve pizza and hot dogs at 5 p.m. Science educators will also lead very brief tours of the lab for students and their parents. The first tour will start at 5:30 p.m.

There will be other activities, too. Our MagLab-themed pumpkin contest will be on display in the atrium so you can vote on your favorite. Bring your cellphone or camera, and you can snap a picture of your child dressed up as a scientist. We'll have lab props — safety glasses, gloves, beakers, lab coats, etc. — and a cool laboratory backdrop in the lobby created just for this purpose. Kids are also welcome, of course, to wear their own costumes.

Nothing, however, can quite eclipse the main event: the Spooky Science shows. Carlos Villa is the show's master of ceremonies and the MagLab's K-12 educational outreach coordinator.

"The kids will have a chance to do several experiments during each show, and they'll also learn a little bit about how to use the scientific method," Villa said. "But most of all, we're going to have lots of fun and do some super-cool stuff!"

One of the experiments involves the glow sticks that are so popular this time of year. Plenty of kids don't realize, Villa said, that it's a chemical reaction that causes a light stick to glow when it's snapped.

"The experiments we do with the glow sticks are designed to help them understand why the stick glows, and how they can actually make it last longer and shine brighter," he said.

Scientists must learn to be astute observers, so after the kids perform each experiment, Villa and others will discuss with the children what they witnessed and what inferences they might reasonably draw.

So come wearing your finest science-inspired costume — and ready to do some hauntingly cool science!

The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory is the world’s largest and highest-powered magnet facility. Located at Florida State University, the University of Florida and Los Alamos National Laboratory, the interdisciplinary National MagLab hosts scientists from around the world to perform basic research in high magnetic fields, advancing our understanding of materials, energy and life. The lab is funded by the National Science Foundation (DMR-1157490) and the state of Florida. For more information, visit us online at nationalmaglab.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest at NationalMagLab.