It’s always science time


By Marilyn Delk


While Kevin Cornell was setting up for his performance as Mister C (Kevin’s on-stage persona) in Mississinawa Valley’s gymnasium, a teacher brought in a handful of students who are big fans of Mister C and were quite excited to meet their idol. Mister C is an Emmy-Award-winning TV host and producer with a show airing on PBS stations across the country, and the creator of LearningScienceisFun, a You Tube channel with well over 100,000 subscribers. The girls just couldn’t wait to get his autograph, and to say that they were thrilled upon receiving not only Mister C’s signature, but also a Mister C T-shirt would be a vast understatement. Kevin Cornell knows that learning science is fun, and communicates that sense of fun in his show; this first presentation of Darke County Center for the Art’s Arts In Education program was joyfully experienced by fourth through sixth grade students in all local public schools last week.

The enthusiasm with which Mister C was greeted by the students in his local audiences was matched by his passion for his subject and his joy in sharing knowledge with eager learners. After explaining that anytime he asked “What time is it?” his audience should respond “It’s Science Time!”, the former teacher and school administrator launched into a fast-paced performance happily demonstrating various scientific principles. He announced that Science Time would begin with a “spiral of doom,” but quickly advised, “Oh, forget the doom,” then instructed students to stare at a spiral figure as it was spun clockwise and then counter-clockwise. Immediately following this, the assembled crowd was told to look at Mister C’s head as it magically appeared to grow larger or diminish due to his audience members’ eye muscles responding to this simple but stunning demonstration of scientific truth.

The next experiment saw a soda bottle, propelled by the pressure of liquid expanding to become a gas, almost make it through one of the gym’s basketball hoops after being shot from mid-floor, once again delighting the crowd as well as the scientist even though his white lab coat was now soaking wet from the spraying liquid. Later, two student volunteers were instructed to breathe into a quite long plastic bag for 10 seconds, filling it with air and resulting in a few inches of balloon-like expansion. Then Mister C propelled air into the bag he was holding, creating an astonishing 12-foot long expansion of the bag, and explaining that he had just demonstrated Bernoulli’s Principle in which air pressure pushes air molecules.

Teachers and administrators were called upon to assist with various experiments, including Mister C aiming a leaf blower that aggressively moved paper cups off the heads of the adults, and then blowing ethereal smoke rings through a large hole cut in the bottom of a garbage pail to knock the cups over. Next, ping pong balls were propelled out of a bucket toward two volunteers valiantly using paddles of highly disproportionate sizes to try to return the little bouncing balls. While Mister C told some cheesy jokes, the balloon he had placed nearby poofed into a huge ball due to warming nitrogen. In the grand finale, an adult volunteer followed instructions, blowing over the top of a roll of toilet paper to create a small ruffle; Mister C then produced an even more powerful leaf blower than the tool he had utilized previously, festooning the performance space with white toilet paper streams which also twirled around the laughing volunteer.

To say that the students were energized and enthusiastic at the close of Mister C’s performance would undoubtedly be an understatement; however, their energy and enthusiasm were closely matched by that of the performer himself, who is proud of his ability to teach the joys of science to millions through his appearances on PBS as well as in schools and theaters across the nation. His ability to make learning science a lot of fun augmented by his love of sharing his knowledge with audiences provide a memorable experience for all involved, reinforcing the notion that, regardless of the hour, it can always be science time.

No posts to display