SynAPSE fall visit to McNichols


On October 19, 2018, the students from the University of Scranton, as part of the ongoing efforts of SynAPSE, visited the McNichols Learning Plaza in South Scranton.  This visit was targeted to the 4th graders of the school.  Our students gave demonstrations about the nervous system and how it helps our chemical senses (smell, taste, and chemical irritation) work.

The students who participated were from the Son Lab, the Gomez lab (Kimberly Barr, Marissa Galardi, Shannon Loftus, Alysse Machalek, Denise Pinto Kristina Reid, Kara Romanowski), and other students (Cassie Stapf, Orr Lab; Brittany Thomas, Waldeck lab; Liz and Katie McManus, Sulzinski lab, and "freelancers" Laura McLaren and Andrew Gorr)


Neurons and the nervous system

Students and faculty from Dr. Jong-Hyun Son's lab gave interactive demonstrations on the nervous system.  He had them color in regions of the brain, and make neural networks out of pipe cleaners.

A taste of things to come!

Marissa Galardi, Denise Pinto, and Kristina Reid gave demonstrations on taste.  Kids got to try some pure taste sensations (umami, bitter, sour) as well as see how the color of a drink affects their perception of taste.



Smell on your skin

Shannon Loftus, Katie McManus, and Liz McManus demonstrated how some chemicals can produce a heating or cooling sensation on the skin.  And the kids got to heat Hot Tamales or CInnamon Hots candy!


Apple versus potato!

Kim Barr, Andrew Gorr, and Alysse Machalek showed how commercial products are made out of flavor chemicals that give them a specific smell associated with a taste.  As a demonstration, they had apple or potato slices dipped in "apple pie spice' to see if kids could tell them apart.


The Jelly Bean Game

In the Jelly Bean Game, Kara Romanowski, Brittany Thomas, and Laura McLaren show how the sense of smell is primarily responsible for "taste".  If kids pinch their nose closed, they can't tell the flavor of the jelly bean.  The kids do get to eat the jelly beans when they are done, though, so that's always a fan favorite!

All in all, the goal was the get the elementary school students interested and excited about science through hads on activities.

Thanks to McNichols Plaza for hosting us, and for making us a part of your educational efforts!