By TIM CLEVELAND
The Mad Science organization made a stop June 19 at Boardman library with Kristina Kirkland and Carmen Copeland giving a science demonstration to a large group of parents and children.
“Mad Science is an international business,” said Kirkland, who has been with the company for about six months. “We’re just the Northeast Ohio franchise. Every year we do a program with the library’s Summer Reading program. We build or own curriculum and we tailor it to whatever the theme is. This year the theme is ‘Fizz, Boom, Read,’ so it was already science based and we didn’t have to stretch very far.”
The duo did a variety of science experiments for all who attended. The experiments were culled from other Mad Science special events. They included using balloons, volcanoes, fire-breathing dragon, a long tube in which flammable chemicals were poured down it and the tube was lit and a big fireball shot out of the end.
“A lot of big, flashy showy stuff to capture the kids’ attention,” Kirkland said.
The Northeast Ohio branch of Mad Science opened in the late ‘90s and operates out of North Canton. They primarily serve the school districts in the Canton, North Canton and Akron area. Lately they have been doing more with libraries. They serve all the libraries in Cuyahoga County.
From February until May, Mad Science has been doing 2-3 performances a week at various libraries, plus after school programs.
“We hope that they can see that science isn’t just sitting at a desk and filling out worksheets,” Kirkland said. “Sometimes, especially in the younger grades, you don’t get the really exciting hands-on experience. You don’t have the time or resources for it. With Mad Science, we really hope to really catch their attention with all the different facets of science. We have curriculums that are chemistry based, we have a very popular one that’s NASA and space oriented with rockets. We’ve got forensics. Just present them with as much interesting, exciting, flashy, scientific stuff as possible and see what grabs their attention.”
Molly Borecki of Boardman attended the show along with her son, Connor.
“[It’s] something to do,” she said of why they attended. “Science stuff is cool. We just wanted to check it out and get our rewards for his Summer Reading program.”
Kirkland said her job is very rewarding, on both a professional and personal level.
“One of the most important things for me, personally, is it’s important to have female science teachers,” she said. “We always have little girls in our classes. Both myself and some of my female co-workers have had little girls come up to us and say, ‘I’ve never had a lady science teacher before.’ I think that’s one of the things I enjoy most about this position is getting all children, but specifically girls, since there’s a push to get girls into the STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Math] fields.”