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Dent Science Night Equals Family Fun
Eager to give their new mini lava lamps a shake to see them work are, from left, young scientists Makai Stamper, first grade; Taylor Gillihan, kindergarten; Carson Gillihan, preschool, working at the Dent Family Science Night. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Times

Whether it was making their own mini ‘lava lamp’ with oil, water, salt and glitter or predicting how much liquid a sugar cube could absorb, young scientists put their minds to work on Thursday night at Dent Elementary.

The ‘Color My World’ family fun science night saw a multitude of projects and experiments offered for kids and their adult chaperones, while award-winning school science projects were also on display. (See additional photos on Page A2.)

Coordinating the event was teacher Wendy Merseth, who said Dent staff members volunteered to work at the stations this year, helping guide students through the various scientific principles while they had fun.

“Every year we do a little theme,” Merseth explained, noting that the family science night has been going on for the past five to six years.

The color theme, she said, allowed the school to draw on available resources for the experiments and also on the expertise of teachers to run the stations.

“We have at least 20 volunteers,” she said.

Some youngsters enjoyed making their own silly putty-like substance to take home, while another table full of kids was busy putting together their lava lamps. Others investigated ‘disappearing ink’ and wrote secret messages, while some students shared their science projects with friends and family.

“We had huge attendance, from preschool through high school and lots of our Dent kids,” said Principal Kendra Helsley. “Everybody pitched in and I think it’s just going to grow.”

Food was available, with Mexican fare served up by Renee Snow of Tacos De Nieve and bake sale items also offered.

Helsley acknowledged the efforts of Merseth as putting the Family Science Night together, while saluting teacher Cassie Gregory for coordinating the students’ Science Fair projects, some of which will continue on to compete at the county level.

Volunteer Dave Mangnuson was enjoying staffing one of the projects and sharing science with the kids.

“This is a fabulous event,” he said. “It’s my first year volunteering but certainly not my last.”