School fair takes science outside the classroom in Lakewood Ranch

jdeleon@bradenton.comJanuary 12, 2014 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Parents may have been shopping for a new school for their kids, but their kids were too busy having fun with science experiments to notice.

Families came out to the Rock Your Robot Science Fair at Greenbrook Adventure Park in Lakewood Ranch on Saturday.

Children were encouraged to dress up like robots to get in science mode. Sullivan Maley, 9, came out with his robot helmet, ready for good times.

"I made it this morning," Sullivan said.

A big fan of robots, Sullivan said he used a box from mom's Christmas ornaments that he had to beg for, duct tape he sent dad to the store for, pipe cleaners and a styrofoam ball he found in grandma's craft bucket.

"They do stuff for you," Sullivan said. " We use robots sometimes at school."

The event was put on by the Lakewood Ranch Community Activities organization to be more than just a traditional private school fair, as it has been in the past.

"We asked each exhibitor to bring one interactive science activity," director Lori Basilone said. "So it's educational and fun, all at the same time."

Taking the event outside, rather than at the Fete Ballroom at Polo Grill, where it was held last year, allowed schools to get more creative with their activities, such as rocket launching by Bradenton Christian School.

"Science is one of those things that's fun to take what you learn in the classroom and apply it to something like this," BCS director of public relations Jannon Pierce said.

Under Pierce's instruction, children took a plastic 35-millimeter film canister, added half an Alka-seltzer and water, closed it and set it upside down in the grass to watch it take off.

"What we need more of is schools interested in math and science," Pierce said. "For kids, what is really going to draw them is to actually show them how cool it really is."

Siblings Katie Love and Ryan Love couldn't get enough of the experiment.

"This is my second time doing it here," Katie said. "I've done it before in science class."

The sister and brother were enjoying all the experiments, with science being a favorite subject for Katie, 11.

"I like science class," Katie said. "I like it the best except for art class I like more."

The festivities also included rides on a 30-foot-high inflatable space shuttle slide, face painting, a balloon artists, a DJ and food.

Rocky Williams, 8, was waiting in line for a motorcycle from the balloon artist after having tried some of the science experiments.

"Making slime was my favorite," Rocky said. "I've made it before." Accompanied by his great-aunt, Rocky and his brother had already ventured over to the space shuttle slide.

"It's fun, but it's not high," Rocky said. "Nothing is too high for me."

Jessica De Leon, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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