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Interested in an 'Adventure in Science?'

No matter how earth-shattering your lab results are, you are not likely to find any audience at NIH more excited about science than the kids who come each Saturday morning to Bldg. 10 to attend Adventure in Science. The AIS program, beginning its 11th year at NIH this fall, gives local children ages 8-11 an opportunity to explore the fun of science with volunteer NIH staff, from postdocs to institute directors. Whether they are dissecting frogs, constructing electronic circuits, testing for starch in foods or building model rockets, the kids and instructors get a chance to sample scientific concepts in a hands-on way that makes the experience memorable for all.

The AIS program began 30 years ago when a NASA scientist began meeting in his basement with his daughter and her friends to explore different science projects. As more kids and scientists joined the group, the program expanded so that, last year, about 200 children participated at 5 sites in the Montgomery County area. Additional sites have been started in other cities.

Frank Petricoin adds an iodine solution to test for starch in various foods.

Although much of the research conducted at NIH is beyond 8-11 year-olds, NIH staff are often able to share aspects of their research that are understandable by children, or they can present other science activities that they found exciting when they were young. Especially popular are demonstrations in which kids can play an active role and perhaps get to take home a product of their experiments. Volunteer scientists can create their own sessions based on hobbies, interests, or research experience, or on resource materials and past sessions that AIS has on file. Team or solo teaching is possible. The AIS sessions last from 8:30 to 11 a.m. each Saturday from mid-October through early March. Instructors can teach a single class on one Saturday, or as many as they like.

Dylan Wright examines the insides of a frog.

Michael Chen (l) and Joey Kavalauskas connect components to construct an electronic device.

If you are interested in volunteering to teach in the program, contact Blanche O'Neill, 435-3726, or Ed Max (301) 827-1806,

If you are interested in enrolling your child, you can request enrollment forms from the 4H office at Montgomery County Cooperative Extension office, (301) 590-9638. To keep classes small, the number of children in the program is limited; children are accepted in the order that they are enrolled, so fill out and return application forms promptly.

Tess Wilkerson (l) and Tanya Chikosi (c) put together their model rockets, which were launched 2 weeks later.

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