Mt. Laurel’s young scientists see new possibilities with Family Science Night

Students from Lenape High School’s science-based clubs guided fourth grade students through several science demonstrations on March 6.

Fourth-grade student Abby Sharp controls a robot with help of Josh Betts, a member of the Lenape and Cherokee High School Storm Robotics Team.

Students at Lenape High School found themselves in a new role last week when they took over teaching duties for a few hours during the school’s seventh annual Fourth Grade Family Science Night.

Students from the school’s Chem Club, Robotics Club, Science League, Project Lead the Way, Meteorology Club and more were on hand to help guide more than 100 families and their fourth-grade students through several science demonstrations.

From making a small glider with paper and sticks, to using water and dye to learn about capillary action, to controlling a robot with help of Lenape and Cherokee high school’s Storm Robotics team, young students had plenty to learn during their time at the school.

Student John Sullivan shows off a flying hoop-glider during Fourth-Grade Family Science Night at Lenape High School on March 6.

Kim Condurso, a science teacher at Lenape and coordinator for the event, described the night as an opportunity for parents to interact with their child in a curricular setting while bringing the community together.

“Installing that passion for science in the youth of the community is so powerful,” Condurso said. “Having them come to my classroom seven years from now and vividly remember this day is a powerful thing.”

Condurso said she also loves organizing the event to give her older students the chance to help make an impact in the lives of some of Mt. Laurel’s youngest.

“These young kids are going to look up to the high school students a lot more than they’re going to look up to me,” Condurso said.

Fourth-grade student Aidan Sanders watches Lenape High School student Lucas Harsche explains how to use a flying hoop-glider.

One high school student who said she was eager to help educate younger students at the event was sophomore Priya Shah. Shah said she had strong memories of attending the first Fourth Grade Family Science Night as a young student, with the event sparking an interest for science within her that continues to this day.

In particular, Shah recalls an experiment at the first family science night where students would destroy a $1 bill in a blender and then use a magnet to attract the pieces of the bill to show how vending machines use magnetism to read the denomination of currency.

“As a fourth-grader I wasn’t actually super interested in science until this day … when I saw that, I really got what was happening” Shah said.

Shah said there was no limit to the scientific careers the children at the event could explore as they grow older, which is why she feels it’s important to introduce the students to different branches of sciences at such a young age.

“Every little project we do here has some concept behind it, and while they may not understand the concept yet, they’re understanding these things are happening,” Shah said.

Students Tricia Thomas and Jonathan Vicente were ready to welcome Mt. Laurel’s budding scientists to Fourth-Grade Family Science Night.

Another high school student helping with the event was sophomore Liam Anthony, who also remembers attending the first family science night as a student and the impact it had on him.

Anthony said while he had an interest in science and technology as a child, there were few outlets where he could truly experience those fields of study.

Yet with the first Fourth Grade Family Science Night, Anthony said he was able to visit the high school and see the options he’d have available once he grew older.

“When I got to Lenape, I joined all these activities such as the Robotics Team and Science League, and now here I am as a high school student teaching the fourth graders about science and technology,” Anthony said. “It was nice way to come full circle.”