Marietta school, Radio Disney find formula to make science fun

MARIETTA – Science lessons at Harmar Elementary School don’t usually involve shouting, cheering, running or crab-walking.

But science lessons at the Marietta school usually aren’t delivered by Radio Disney.

Representatives of the child, tween and family radio network led an assembly in the Harmar gymnasium Wednesday outlining how oil and natural gas are formed, collected and used. The program was sponsored by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP), a nonprofit education and public outreach organization funded by the state’s natural gas and crude oil producers.

“I think it showed them … that you can learn science and have fun,” Harmar Principal Cheryl Cook said.

Third- through fifth-graders were divided into two teams for the assembly, answering trivia questions about jobs like geophysicists, petroleum engineers and geologists and facing off in physical challenges related to the topics.

In one, pairs of students raced to assemble the Earth’s layers, from crust to inner core, in the correct order on a magnetic board. In another, students competed in a crab-walking relay race simulating how devices called geophones gather data for scientists to interpret.

Fifth-grader Joshua Constable’s favorite part was when 15 members of each team had to assemble individual tubes to form a pipeline to deliver two ping pong balls and a golf ball into a bucket.

“You had to build the pipeline and you had to make it where (the balls) went all the way down,” he said.

Fellow fifth-grader Jarrahlynn Holschuh said she found the hour-long event exciting and enjoyed watching classmates run another relay race where they had to don colored jerseys representing different types of natural resources. She also found some of the careers discussed interesting.

“I would like to be a scientist. That would be fun to be,” she said. “I have an A in science, so I think I’d be pretty good.”

Cook admitted she was skeptical when contacted a couple months ago about the program.

“It sounded almost too good to be true,” she said. “I kept thinking there’s no way we can afford to bring this to Harmar school.”

But the event was put on at no charge to the school.

Cook said she was impressed by the activity and would like to have Radio Disney personnel come back to present other educational topics.