iSchool’s Science Day at MOM’s Organic Market Celebrates an early Earth Day

“I’m going to start one at home!” exclaimed a visitor to iSchool’s Science Day after learning that many foods and household products can be easily composted.  iSchool for the Future and a group of dedicated volunteers excited, awed, and educated visitors with hands-on science at MOM’s Organic Market in Herndon on Friday, April 17. In an early celebration of Earth Day 2015, each science station highlighted ways to take care of the environment. Each station also illustrated activities that children will love during our fun and innovative Summer Camp Series.

IMG_6526  IMG_6534

One station included real compost – complete with worms! Children enjoyed digging for worms and finding bugs, while adults were often amazed to learn that so many products could be composted. The station also included a guessing game, with a variety of foods and household products (including MOM’s biodegradable “bioplastic” bags and tissue paper) labeled based on whether they could be composted or had to be recycled. Our family of volunteers inspired visitors to start their own compost pile. Special thanks go to our young volunteer for his bravery as he talked to visitors!


A second station had visitors solving a water quality mystery.  Using organic purple cabbage juice as a pH indicator, visitors identified samples as acidic, basic, or neutral.  Visitors used pipettes and test tubes to test liquids as diverse as laundry detergent, baking soda, apple juice, lemon juice, and vinegar.  Thanks to a donation from MOM’s Organic Market, we also learned that natural laundry detergent has a neutral pH – like water – and is better for the environment. This was also a learning experience for our great volunteers from Boy Scout Troop #55, who were experts on molecules by the end of the Science Day.  Check out this video of our volunteer explaining why the purple cabbage juice changes the colors of the solutions.


A third station challenged visitors to think outside-of-the-box about energy.  Using copper wire, pennies, galvanized nails, and donated organic potatoes, visitors released energy from Potato Batteries.  Our Middle School volunteer was also an expert on the demonstration and taught many people about the flow of electrons through the potato. Listen to his great explanation for what happens when you wire the potato – he taught us something new!


A fourth station encouraged fun with paper – followed by paper recycling – by making helicopter “Choppers”.  Children changed the amount and distribution of weight on the Choppers to change their flight path. Our High School volunteer turned out to be an expert on aeronautical engineering and explained the motion with finesse!


A fifth station compared a vegetated watershed to one with bare dirt. Volunteers helped children sprinkle spice and herb “pollutants” onto the watersheds and then make it rain with spray bottles.  The vegetated watershed produced visibly cleaner water runoff than the bare watershed.  Special thanks to our family of volunteers for getting wet and dirty!

A sixth station encouraged emotional connections to nature by asking visitors to draw and write on an outline of a body how “Nature Makes Me Feel.” These educational, fun, hands-on, and environmental friendly activities were samples of the types of activities that we will have during our Wizards of i Summer Camp Series, starting June 23rd at Armstrong Elementary School in Reston.


Many of the foods and household products used during the Science Day were donated by MOM’s Organic Market in Herndon.  THANK YOU!