Freedman Group Makes Outreach Activities a Priority

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20 September 2016

The Freedman Group, under the direction of Dr. Miriam Freedman, studies the effects of aerosol particles on the environment. In the last year, the Freedman Group has made it a priority to participate in a wide range of outreach activities.

Two of the main outreach activities done every year by the group, with this year being no exception, are Exploration-U Bellefonte and Exploration-U State College.  This year, they continued the tradition of making liquid nitrogen ice cream, always a hit with the kids because they get to eat ice cream in addition to learning how cirrus clouds form in the atmosphere.

In order to expand their outreach circle this year, the Freedman group developed a curriculum for a session of “Think Outside the Beaker.”  This program brought middle school students from Bellefonte, PA to Penn State for a five week after school program focused on science topics.  For their session, the group decided to focus on weather and atmospheric chemistry, specifically by having the students learn about precipitation and make their own anemometers.  The students also enjoyed learning about cloud formation.

Other outreach activities included participation in a PA Cyber Charter School Night (where the group explained the process that leads to precipitation and built anemometers) and two general science outreach programs (the M.A.T.H.H. Program and Higher Achievement Program).

The M.A.T.H.H. program is an outreach activity at the Schlow Library and Discovery Space in State College. This program is designed to teach some scientific principles to kids aged 5-12.  Here, they focused on making batteries with pennies, and the kids enjoyed making different circuits to light up a lightbulb or spin a propeller.

The Higher Achievement program invites sophomores and juniors in high school to come to Penn State. The group spent an hour teaching them about the gas laws and demonstrated the famous Coke and Mentos experiment.

The Freedman Group also had a booth in the Olympic Village during the Pennsylvania Special Olympics at Penn State where athletes had the opportunity to make their own polymer “goo!”

The group is looking ahead to more outreach events in the future!