Science Magic Thrills Youngsters
by Lynne Ober
Pelham children had a plethora of programs offered during the recently past Christmas vacation week. During one of those programs, they used observation and science to learn how magicians perform magic.
The program, The Magic of Science, is an offering of Boston’s Museum of Science Education Department. Loading a van with fun, magic and science, Dave and Mike brought their traveling magic show to Pelham. The show was sponsored by Pelham Library and held at the Congregational Church.
“We brought part of the museum out to you,” began Dave. “The word magic is exciting, but magic means that you hide the trick. Today we’re going to learn how all these things can be done,” he grinned and the audience grinned back.
The first trick was to change clear water into bright pink water right in front of your eyes when a magic word was said. Choosing abracadabra as the best magic word, Dave urged his audience to jump in with a loud “abracadabra” to make the water change.
After his young audience stopped oohing, Dave urged them to think about what they saw. It wasn’t long before someone reported that he had wiggled the clear beaker holding the liquid and saying abracadabra. With that announcement a lively discussion ensued about what could have caused that wiggle to change the water’s color. Dave was an energetic coach who used just the right amount of clues to get his young audience to discover the answer.
Brendon Lynch was a volunteer who helped Dave with his next trick. Using two metal tubes of exactly the same length and two metal cylinders of the same size and weight, races were held to see which metal cylinder would reach the end of the tube first. Dave lost, but he wanted to win so he asked the audience what he should do to win. They suggested switching tubes.
Switching tubes, Dave lost again. Explaining to his audience that they were using “physics a science where things move around,” he led another lively discussion. Between giggles and hand waving, the audience worked with Dave to understand about magnets, electricity, and how those forces could be used to slow a falling object.
When his audience would suggest more than one thing to try, Dave patiently explained that in a controlled experiment you only changed one thing at a time. “Otherwise we wouldn’t know what fixed the problem, would we?” Heads nodded energetically in agreement with his statement.
Switching from physics back to chemistry, Dave explained, “Chemistry is the study of different materials and how they behave.” Asking for another volunteer, he chose Joey Dube, 7. “Turn around Joey and show the audience what you looked like before the experiment,” Dave urged. The audience erupted in laughter.
Dave demonstrated how heat would pop a balloon before giving Joey a second balloon that had a small amount of water in the bottom. Dave then held the balloon over Joey’s head and applied his small blow torch to the bottom of the balloon. Giggles filled the air as Joey and the audience waited for the balloon to burst and Joey to get a shower, but that didn’t happen. The balloon was scorched, but didn’t pop and once again the audience was engaged in a lively discussion of what had and hadn’t happened.
Asking for an adult volunteer, Fran, Dave told the audience, “It’s about 2:30 and when you get to be my age, you need a nap about 2:30. I’m going to use my comfy bed.” Dave showed the audience his bed of nails.
Asking Fran to see if the nails were sharp, the audience was horrified to hear that the “nails were pointy and very sharp.”
“First we put on safety glasses. Always wear safety glasses when you conduct an experiment,” Dave cautioned one more time.
Dave then explained that he’d put the largest part of his body on the nail bed first and lie down after that. Faces were very intent as Dave slowly lowered himself onto the bed of nails. “Nothing is piercing my body. Don’t worry.” He then asked Fran to inspect and assure the audience that he was lying on the bed of nails.
Next he had Fran had him a heavy concrete block which he held on his chest. He ordered Fran to pick up the hammer and to hit the concrete block as hard as he could. Fran was a little reluctant, but with urging from Dave, he gave the block a hard whack and it broke into two large pieces with lots of little bits flying around Dave and Fran.
Dave then stood up and told the audience how he’d done it. “Don’t do this at home. We used a lot of math to figure out how many nails and where they should be placed,” he stated. Turning around, he showed the audience that he had little nail indentation marks on the back of his shirt where he’d borne the brunt of the hammer blow. “I’m fine because we worked a long time before we tried this. The math helped us figure how close together the nails should be placed,” he grinned. “It’s all about science.”
Hoping that he’d inspired his audience to want to try an experiment. He ended his show by telling them to get red radishes and red cabbage. “You can make cabbage juice by putting the cabbage into hot water. It’s stinky, but neat.” Second step is to either run the red part of the radish on a 3 x 5 card or paint the cabbage juice onto a card. “Once the card is red,” he told his audience, “put drops of other liquid like vinegar, milk of magnesia or soda onto the cards. You’ll make lots of different colors.”
The Joy of Reading
The third graders in Mrs. Robin Andrews’ class at Pelham elementary School know the true meaning of Christmas. Instead of exchanging presents with each other, the kids used the money they would have spent on a gift and purchased a book to donate to the Good Neighbor Fund so that other children may experience the joy of reading. They collected 50 books in all and designed a handmade bookmark to go with each gift. The presentation to Mrs. Roche, a Fund representative, was made during their class Christmas party.
Improvements to Intersection Discussed
Work continues on the intersections of Cardinal and Oriole Roads in Windham. Selectmen were recently updated by Cynthia May and Joseph Johnson of CLD Engineering. “We’ve met with the Highway Safety Committee and did a site evaluation of the intersection,” May said.
CLD discovered that a wide radius existed at the intersection and that a steep grade existed in both directions, which allowed vehicles to pick up speed.
Johnson presented three alternatives for resolving issues at the intersection:
Create a round-about which would force vehicles to reduce speed because of the change of direction and yield requirements. This solution has the largest footprint and would require the acquisition of some private property. The estimated cost for this solution is $65,000.
A “Tee” intersection with a stop sign at each approach. Oriole Road would be re-configured to a 90 degree angle and have a landscaped “island.” The estimated cost for this is $30,000.
A channelized right turn, which would “entail a slip lane for the Cardinal Road traffic and a stop sign for Oriole Road traffic before taking a left-hand turn.” The estimated cost for this is $35,000.
CLD Engineering feels that the Tee intersection is the best solution for the intersection because all vehicles are forced to stop, thus reducing speed at the intersection. Johnson reported this was a “good fit aesthetically for the neighborhood.” He also noted that residents were in favor of this solution.
Highway Agent Jack McCartney was in favor of the Tee intersection and told Selectmen that the Highway Safety Committee also supported this alternative. McCartney said that construction would occur within the Town’s right-of-way.
Selectmen discussed the impact on the corner property if the Tee alternative was chosen. It could either revert back to the owner of the corner lot or become Town property.
McCartney noted that the lack of impact to current property owners, the correction of the roadway crown and the ability to do the construction in the Town’s right-of-way made this the most attractive option.
New Plows Purchased
by Lynne Ober
Windham Town Administrator David Sullivan told Selectmen that invitations to bid had been advertised and two bids had been received for the purchase of two ten foot manual plows with flip edges.
Highway Agent Jack McCartney presented the bids. Howard P. Fairfield, Inc. of Pembroke, New Hampshire was the low bidder with a price of $4,385 per plow. The other bidder, E W Sleeper Co., Inc. of Concord, New Hampshire, bid $5,195 per plow.
McCartney recommended awarding the bid to Fairfield. Selectman Bruce Honenberger moved to purchase the two plows from Fairfield at an amount not to exceed $8,770. Motion passed 4-0.