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coworker and I are trying to come up with a Mad Scientist style club/series that would focus on the
ideas and principles of STEM via different experiments with an interestingly mad twist. It would be
either for grades 1-3 for a junior edition or grades 3-5 for more advanced experiments. Since it is a
Mad Science club, science would be a main focus but many experiments can enter into engineering. For
example, if we were to try to create strongholds out of flimsy paper or figure out what soap makes the
most resilient bubbles. Math would play a part as students would try something like looking at
tessellating shapes and creating their own. There are quite a few books that support interest in mad
or unusual science experiments such as Carmelo the Science Fellow and Ruff Ruffman. The session
would last about one hour. The students would read the directions and safety precautions themselves
and work together on their experiments. This is instead of the typical instructor led activity and would
give the children practice reading non-fiction and building their confidence and teamwork skills (while
still being supervised). We would practice the scientific method of:

Ask a question

Create a hypothesis

Test the hypothesis

Analyze data and draw conclusions

Determine truth of hypothesis

Unusual supplies needed should include safety glasses, not just for safety, but also to create an air of
scientific otherness to the proceedings. There will be many experiments that can be done with
inexpensive household/grocery store items, but there will also be the need to buy the occasional
specialty item. It is also possible to purchase science experiment kits online, both individually, and for
groups. Lab coats are very expensive but they would have a long life, so we think they would be worth
it, but we may have to settle for aprons of some sort. There can be a themed series, like ecology
experiments, or forensic science experiments. We would try to do more dramatic experiments and
weird ones, too, to trade on the whole "Mad" bit. (Maniacal laughter would be encouraged at the end
of each experiment.) Scientific terms will broaden the children's vocabulary beyond what they are
getting in other places, and the completion of an experiment will give a sense of
accomplishment. Additionally, a certificate could be given out at the end of a series to people who
come to a certain number of times to mark their commitment to scientific advancement. If possible, we
would also like to have guest speakers, perhaps a scientist or other field expert could visit at the end of a
series (this may be an extension of the club in the summer).
I think this club is exactly what PGCMLS mission and vision is all about. We know that STEM is an
important part of school and community so we should embrace it. We would be engaging the children in
fun while they were learning, enriching their understanding of science, STEM and the world around
them, and illuminating new possibilities for understanding. They would also develop their problem
solving skills, which they will need for the rest of their lives.

Mad Science Club

Every Tuesday in January @ 4:00pm
Oxon Hill Branch of Prince Georges County Memorial Library System
Ages 8-12, limited to the first 20 students

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a Mad Scientist? To laugh maniacally at your own
experiment? Then join us every Tuesday in January for the Mad Science Club, where you can
complete strange and unusual science experiments, and learn about how the world around you
works. We will complete exciting and interesting experiments in things from forensics, ecology,
engineering, technology, and physics. Join us at the Oxon Hill Branch Library. For more
information contact us at (301) 839-2400, or visit our website, www.pgcmls.info.

*Note: We are trying to make this a feasible program in our library.