OH WOW! marks 2nd year

By Sean Barron



He may not have the name recognition of film directors such as Steven Spielberg, Rob Reiner or Ron Howard, but 10-year-old Timothy Case is no stranger to working behind the scenes.

“I used dinosaurs to make them attack or something, and I pressed this button to make them move,” said the Boardman boy, referring to his stop-motion animated film.

The interactive exhibit at OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology downtown allows participants to push a button to manipulate, photograph and record plastic dinosaurs, building blocks and other props, then push another to watch the objects’ movements.

The exhibit also is one of several integral to the center’s second birthday bash that got underway Saturday. The festivities continue from noon to 4 p.m. today at the Federal Street facility.

Timothy and his 7-year-old sister, Indonesia, both of whom are home-schooled, caught on quickly and enjoyed combining dinosaurs with toy palm trees to make their own animation movies.

“It was real fun,” said an excited Indonesia as her parents, Tim and Kansas Case, looked on.

Despite the rather unusual setups, is attending the children’s center a new experience for Timothy? Not by a long shot.

“I’ve been here tons and tons of times,” he added with glee.

It’s been said that in many successful relationships, opposites attract, but Libby Urig proved that the principle also applies when it comes to the relationship between hollow plastic pipes and Christmas-tree tinsel.

“We wanted to do something kind of different,” the Canfield High School senior and National Honor Society member said after conducting demonstrations on tinsel orbs, an exhibit that explores how static electricity works.

The pipes and tinsel have negative and positive charges, respectively, so when enough static electricity builds up, the tinsel attaches to the pipe and appears to levitate. The idea is similar to the science behind magnetization, explained Urig, who plans to major in chemical engineering at Youngstown State University.

Assisting her was fellow Canfield high senior and NHS member Maria Kenner.

Kenner, who intends to initially be a pre-med major at YSU, also got her hands a bit gooey because she assisted with the Flubber exhibit.

That activity combines borax and glue, which allows glue molecules to join one another to create larger ones called polymers. Those form a thick, gel-like material that, when food coloring is added, resembles a slimy substance.

Mirrors, light angles and lasers were the order for Jakeline Placeres, Ashley Frankos, Patrick Hyden and Alex Wilster, all first-year YSU engineering majors.

“The hardest part of our project was making it safe and precise,” noted Hyden, referring to their rectangular Laser Fun Box, which was the winning entry during a recent Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics competition at the university.

The project allows users to rotate eight spindles, each with a small mirror attached, and bounce green laser lights off the mirrors toward targets, Hyden explained. The box operates on the law of reflection, a physics concept that states when a light ray hits a reflective surface, it will reflect at an angle equal to that at which it struck the surface.

Wilster came up with the laser-box idea, the configuration of which has an estimated 15,210 paths the light beams can take, said Hyden, adding that the four students hope children will have fun with their invention.

Many youngsters and adults had plenty of fun with Chris Yambar of Youngstown, an internationally known pop artist and award-winning comic-book creator.

Yambar, who has worked on cartoon characters such as Bart Simpson, SpongeBob SquarePants and Popeye, spent Saturday’s six-hour event selling his comic books for $6 each, the proceeds of which benefited OH WOW!

“I go to a lot of schools and museums, but this is incredibly unique,” he said of the center.

The anniversary celebration also includes a variety of cakes from area bakeries to be judged, as well as prizes that include yearlong and lifetime memberships to OH WOW!

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