First EOP Open House a Success; Second to be Held in Building 549 Today

Story and images by Marie White, staff writer
Two volunteers test out the hand boiler to see how it works.

Two volunteers test out the hand boiler to see how it works.

The first open house event for the Office of Scientific Operations’ (OSO) Educational Outreach Program (EOP), held at the Advanced Technology Research Facility (ATRF), was a success according to program coordinator Cathy Cullen.

“We had more volunteers sign up in person than in response to the emails, and it was a lot more fun, too.”

Almost a dozen employees stopped by her table in the ATRF atrium on Wednesday afternoon to learn about the Educational Outreach Program, a program that enlists volunteers to teach science at local elementary and middle schools, as well as to watch Cullen demonstrate some of the lessons and hands-on activities they would be teaching children though the program.

One such demonstration involved an object called a “hand boiler.” When held, the warmth from a person’s hand heats air inside the tube, which expands and displaces liquid inside the tube, thus making the liquid appear to “boil.”

Another used food coloring to show how mixing the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue creates purple, green, and orange. In a third experiment, pepper scattered across a dish of water illustrated surface tension, which was then reduced by touching a Q-Tip coated in dish soap to the surface, sending the pepper towards the edges of the dish.  

Anyone interested in volunteering can commit as much or as little time as they would like. All the materials for the demonstrations as well as sample lesson plans are provided and will even be taken to the school or event by other EOP volunteers.

Volunteering for the EOP can also be completed as part of your work day, once you obtain approval from your supervisor. And you don’t need to be a scientist to make a difference in a child’s future; administrative employees are encouraged to sign up to volunteer, as well.

A volunteer creates purple and green by mixing primary colors. Pepper demonstrates surface tension. The introduction of dish soap decreases surface tension. "Sunset eggs" show the colors of a sunset when a light is shone on them.