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This past Tuesday a group of aspiring 8th grade students participated in Exxon Mobil's Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. Exxon Mobil graciously provided volunteers to assist some of our 8th grade girls in exploring possibilities of choosing research and engineering as exciting and fulfulling career choices. Lab experiments were conducted during this event in one of our state of the art science labs. Ms. Theresa Lardieri (8th Grade Science) and Mr. Matt Hall (Supervisor of Science) led efforts to make this special day a possiblity. The volunteers consisted of chemists, biologists, research technicians and chemical engineers.

During the morning long session students were exposed to many aspects related to the field of engineering including what is an engineer, achievements, inventions by women, fields of study and resources available to pursue a career. Approximately twenty five students were involved in the experiments and gained great insight from the hands on experiences. The volunteers along with Ms. Lardieri monitored student progress and provided additional insight during the experiments. Time was given to students for reflection and to generate questions about what they had experienced.

The students participated in three experiments that focused on various aspects related to engineering. The first experiment was called Lava Lamps and looked at polar vs. non polar molecules as it relates to density. Materials used consisted of a test tube, water, oil, color tablets and Alka-Seltzer tablets. Participants were able to atake the lava lamps home to conduct similar experiements. The second experiment was called Instaworms that looked at polymers and how sodium alginate and calcium chloride can be used to create colored worm polymers. The last experiment, called Raft Rally, focused on Archimedes Principle, buoyant force and density. Students created boats using only one sheet of aluminum foil and four half sized pieces of plastic straws. The boat requirements were that it hold as many pennies as possible when placed in water without sinking.  One group of girls were able to place 81 pennies on the raft without it sinking.

Students involved in the annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day had a wonderful experience and were engaged in meaningful learning. The folks at Exxon Mobil can not be thanked enough for the committment to education and exposing students to the field of engineering. As you can see, Readington Middle School continues to be at the forefront of providing top notch educational experiences for its students. The science department continually provides relevant and engaging learning experiences that are applicable to students lives.

By: Brad Currie, Vice Principal @ Readington Middle School

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