Community Science Day features hands-on activities

Nov. 12, 2018 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Families can extract DNA from strawberries, tour a greenhouse, and test their grip strength during Grand Rapids Community College's Community Science Day on Nov. 17.

The day of free interactive health- and science-related activities runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Calkins Science Center and Cook Hall, both on Bostwick Avenue NE. Most activities are open to all ages, and you can get a free parking pass in room 348 of Calkins.

Students, faculty and staff in GRCC's Biological Sciences, Child Development and Education, Dental Assisting, Exercise Science, Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assisting, Physical Science, Psychology and Radiological Technology programs and members of Psi Beta psychology honor society organized the event. The Michigan State University Extension, Spectrum Health, the Kent County Health Department and John Ball Zoo are also helping with sessions.

"Our students gain hands-on experience, critical thinking and problem-solving solving skills through their work on Community Science Day, while developing social and personal responsibility," said Biological Sciences professor Leigh Kleinert. "In addition, they are able to test out their interests and values in a potential science- or health-related career path.

"Families can get a peek into science fields. Participants can try out equipment and techniques used by professionals in these fields while experiencing the high-quality classrooms and laboratories at Grand Rapids Community College."

Community Science Day activities include:

  • Eating with Ease -- Check out adaptive equipment that helps people overcome eating impairments.
  • The Psychology of Perception -- Try hands-on activities to learn how two people can look at the same thing and see something completely different.
  • Come Meet Max! -- See how nursing students learn to palpate pulses, take blood pressure readings, and listen to a beating heart by using Max, a mannequin that blinks, breathes and talks.
  • Make It Rain -- Learn the science behind thunderstorms and then get crafty and make your own.
  • Teddy Bear Clinic -- Bring in a stuffed animal to get a radiograph!
  • Make Your Own Lava Lamp -- Craft a simple lava lamp that you can take home.
  • Great American Balloon Car Race -- Design, build and test lightweight "gas"-powered vehicles using balloons, tongue depressors, straws and rubber bands. Small prizes will be awarded for successful tests!
  • Biology of Blood -- Investigate the parts of blood and their functions, and then make fake blood to take home.
  • Artistic Robots -- Design and build your own artistic robot. Work through design challenges to make it spin to draw pictures using markers.
  • Cell-fies -- Extract your cheek cells and view them under the microscope. If you have your smartphone handy, you can take a cell-fie!
  • WorldWide Telescope and the Solar System -- Explore scale models of the solar system with hands-on activities and discover new views of the solar system and galaxy with WorldWide Telescope, a free software package that you can download at home.
  • Oh My, Butterflies! -- You can hold and feed live caterpillars and butterflies! You can also check out a display of butterflies and moths, and create a butterfly to take home.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.

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