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St. Anthony conducts family science night
First grader Connor McCoy plays with bubbles while learning which type lasts the longest during Family Science Night at St. Anthony School. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

They blew bubbles. They built forts made out of newspapers. They experimented with tie dyes using water and rubbing alcohol. They learned how heat is generated and its consequences. They showed how solar heat can power a remote-controlled car. They peered through microscopes to note and observe how a salt crystal looks like magnified so many times.

These and more entertained, in an educational way, several dozen teachers, parents and students Monday evening when St. Anthony of Padua School in Manteca held its third annual Family Science Night.

Several of the students, with the help of their parents, brought their own experiments. Sixth grader Jeremy Dalen, for example, came to the interactive science event with a display that showed how a remote-controlled solar-powered car is made. It was a collaborative effort between Jeremy and his father Christopher.

Nancy Hogle and Kim Morenzone, both teachers at St. Anthony School, Fred Vandergraaf who is a physics teacher at West High in Tracy whose child attends the parochial school, and several California Junior Scholarship Federation students helped put together the rest of the experiment tables where the students learned about some of the wonders of science while being entertained at the same time. Below are three samples of those hands-on science experiments.

Experiment #1: A tie dye color reaction.

Conclusion: A Sharpie marker ink dissolves in rubbing alcohol, but not in water. As the cloth absorbs the alcohol, it picks up the ink.

Experiment #2. Fill cup with water. Put shaving cream on top for a cloud. Drop blue coloring on top of cloud, and watch (observe!) it rain!

Conclusion: The cloud gets heavy with water (condensation) and it rains (precipitation).

Another display asked the questions: How are bubbles formed? Why do they float? What type of soap bubbles will last the longest? They not only learned the answers; they got to play with bubbles, too.

Kindergarten teacher Desiree Aguirre, who started Family Science Night three years ago, said its purpose is to “bring the community together, have parents come together having fun exploring, inventing, and having fun” with the children. The event is not mandatory to the K- to 8th-grade students of St. Anthony School.

“Many of the students created many of the science projects. They are fantastic projects. I’m proud of them,” she said.

“The CJSF students helped by taking part in the science activities. I couldn’t have done it without their help and without the parents’ help,” added Aguire.