Staff report


Carefully stacking blocks one at a time, 11-year-olds Alaziah St. Thomas and Alissa Williams built a structure they hoped would outlast their first creation at the OH WOW! earthquake table.

“We aren’t making it hollow this time,” said Alissa of the team’s second attempt at building a sound structure to withstand the earthquake table at OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology.

Alaziah and Alissa were part of the William Holmes McGuffey Elementary field trip at OH WOW!, which was funded by The Thomases Family Endowment of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation. The two girls were grouped with classmates, Kevin Osorto, 10, and Zack Semlani, 11, and spent much of their time exploring the Earth & Weather WOW! Zone.

While Kevin and Zack tried their hand at meteorology, Alissa and Alaziah tested the Hurricane Chamber.

“I like the hurricane, because we don’t get to feel the wind like that in Ohio,” Alissa said.

As the group progressed through the museum exhibits, they finished at the newest hands-on display, “Toys — The Inside Story.”

“We just learned about circuits yesterday!” exclaimed Zack, referring to the portion of the exhibit teaching students about switches, open and closed circuits and direct currents.

The four students ended their exploration by taking on the pulley challenge to move four wheels in different directions with only one pulley.

The field trip was the last of five grant-funded trips provided by Thomases Family Endowment. Nearly 300 students from Youngstown and Warren explored OH WOW! as a result of the $5,000 donation to OH WOW!

“The Youngstown Area Jewish Federation is honored to partner with OH WOW! so students in the Warren and Youngstown Schools receive a variety of learning experiences,” said Debbi Grinstein, endowment director. “We hope to continue this special relationship and provide more opportunities for area students to enhance their education.”

The Thomases Family Endowment of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation actively practices tzedakah, righteousness, charity and social justice in its grant making and seeks to promote a spirit of tzedakah in the Jewish and general communities.

“OH WOW! is always researching opportunities to assist area schools so all students have the chance to experience our interactive museum,” said Suzanne Barbati, executive director. “We are thankful for the Thomases Family Endowment contribution, which enabled more than 280 students to explore and experiment at OH WOW! this year.”

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