Exhibits ignite thought, pique imagination at Hohenfels school
April 18, 2012
By Mark Iacampo
HOHENFELS, Germany (April 18, 2012) -- Students and parents alike thronged the more than 20 exhibits filling the halls of Hohenfels Middle/High School during the ninth annual Math, Science, and Technology Night, March 22. The displays helped demonstrate how these disciplines permeate practically every facet of life today.
"The community support for this event is just great," said Dan Mendoza, HMHS principal. "Every year we get more and more community members who want to volunteer."
Along with teachers from both the HMHS and the Hohenfels Elementary school, various organizations from around the garrison demonstrated a wide range of topics such as First Aid on the Battlefield, 3-D Mapping, and even How to Build an Atom.
Sixth-grader Nathan Denny was particularly pleased after visiting HES librarian Lisa Zimmermann's exhibit on bird watching and the birds of Hohenfels. Denny learned there are woodpeckers that dine on ants, and can often be seen low on a tree or even in the grass.
Denny's mother Karin said they had just been discussing whether or not Denny correctly identified a bird they spotted recently.
"He told me it was a woodpecker, but I said why would a woodpecker be sitting there pecking in the grass?" Karin said.
"I knew it was a woodpecker because I could see its red head," Denny declared, vindicated.
A crowd favorite was the Thermal Cameras and Lasers presented by the technicians of
"The thermal camera technology is always a hit," said Jesse Brown, a technician with Raytheon's Technical Services Co. The digital monitor revealed the heat coming from the bodies in the room, even through desks and other obstructions.
Visitors also got to heft and fire the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement Systems weapons which the Soldiers use during training missions at Hohenfels.
"I got to shoot an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade), an M16, and I think a javelin (anti-tank missile)," said 5th-grader Devin Lopez-Silva. "It's a laser, so when it hits the target, it beeps and lights up!"
Several exhibits were even created and manned by the students themselves.
"I was impressed by the level of knowledge so many of our student presenters showed," said Glenn Roark, HMHS language teacher.
Athena Hills, one of the two students who produced the World in Miniature and Motion display, excitedly shared information with visitors who stopped to examine the many models she and partner Tyler Allender had created.
"We're discussing motion and energy," she explained, switching on one of the models. "The potential energy in the batteries now becomes kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is energy that is moving." She indicated the weighted pieces moving up on an elevator. "When they're going up, it's potential energy. It can be turned into energy."
The pieces reached the top and began speeding on their own down the roller coaster-like structure. "Now, it's kinetic energy," she said.
A scavenger hunt for information encouraged interaction with the presenters by having participants seek out the answers to various questions such as "What is the smallest bone in the body?" or "What is Newton's second law of motion?" But most students didn't need any encouragement.
"It's a good sign that we had to chase kids out of most rooms when the event was coming to an end," Roark said. He added that what was most exiting to him was seeing children running around and getting excited over lasers, constellations, and math puzzles.
"Who said learning can't be fun?" Roark said.