Claire Hushon tries to throw a paper airplane through a Hula-Hoop as fellow sophomore Cole Measley looks on.
Claire Hushon tries to throw a paper airplane through a Hula-Hoop as fellow sophomore Cole Measley looks on. (Andrew Shaw photo)

Kennard-Dale sophomores were walking on egg shells on Wednesday.

This wasn't a bunch of nervous students eyeing administrators, though.

This was science in action.

Kennard-Dale High School, along with Junior Achievement of South Central Pennsylvania, put together a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, Summit to help get 240 sophomores interested in the field and get employers involved in schools.

About three dozen volunteers, from nuclear engineers to chemists, helped out in the all-day event. Junior Achievement hopes the inaugural event will be held at other school districts next year.

Science experiments that Mr. Wizard and Bill Nye would have been proud of took place in the gym, while talks with STEM-related professionals occurred throughout the day.

Claire Hushon (left) and Cole Measley, wearing a haz-mat suit, help fellow sophomore Lyndsey Duty walk on egg shells.
Claire Hushon (left) and Cole Measley, wearing a haz-mat suit, help fellow sophomore Lyndsey Duty walk on egg shells. (Andrew Shaw photo )

"I had no idea people actually did this stuff," said Rhiannon

McGlone, a 10th-grader who loved getting out the classroom. "It's more hands-on."

Unique relay: In one activity, students had a relay race involving static electricity wands, putting on a hazardous materials suit, flinging a paper airplane through a hoop, and, yes, walking on cartons of eggs -- bonus points for keeping them intact.

Cole Measley, Claire Hushon and Lyndsey Duty laughed their way through the relay, especially as Cole tried to put on the haz-mat suit as quickly as possible.

Cole said he enjoyed the whole day, and is considering a STEM-related career, considering his dad works in construction. Hearing stories from professionals, he added, was particularly helpful.

The lessons: Penn-Air and Hydraulics president Bob Rhein, also Eastern York's boys' lacrosse coach, oversaw the relay, complete with a referee jersey. Rhein said he thinks the students might have picked up some good lessons about teamwork and problem solving along the way.

"Hopefully, what you learned is slower is sometimes better," Rhein told students about taking their time.

Rhein said he loved the idea of getting students excited about science and engineering.

"Every group that's come through ... when they first come in, they are not sure what's going on. But by the end, they are having a lot of fun," Rhein said.

Science experiments were conducted, too, including one with polystyrene foam oozing out of cups that Rhiannon's group especially enjoyed.

"When you can make things happen and see it happen, it's easier to learn," said student Patrick Clemens.

Science got a little gross, too.

Tiffany Burns, a clinical lab scientist in York, talked with small groups about things found in the body, including blood and tapeworms.

What was the general reaction?

"Eww," she said with a laugh. "Eww has been a general response."

-- Reach Andrew Shaw at ashaw@yorkdispatch.com