Ella Smith wasn’t very interested in science class until she learned about the moon and solar system in middle school.
That inspired the Penns Valley Area eighth-grader to participate in a science project about the phases of the moon.
On Wednesday night, she was among students from the district who showcased their research projects at the annual Centre Hall-Potter Elementary School Family Science Night.
In its second year, the event included 24 community businesses and organizations — including Penn State, Green Space, the Penns Valley Conservation Association, Lincoln Caverns and Centre Hall Pet Supply — that hosted science-related activities for students and their families.
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For the first time, students, too, were able to present their science projects.
“I wasn’t interested in a lot I was learning in science class until this came up,” Ella said about the moon. “We never learned this kind of stuff in elementary school, but finally got to learn about it and did some research.”
But one of the cooler parts about participating, she said, was being able interact with younger kids, whose position she was in just a few years ago.
“It’s definitely cool being able to interact with the (younger) kids and show our projects,” Ella said. “I think there’s a lot of interesting things.”
The Parent Teacher Group, lead by volunteer Heidi Peters, started organizing the event in January.
Peters said the mission was to help students get more interested a variety of sciences, while helping to bridge the gap between the community and district.
“We do a lot of fundraiser-type events, but I think what’s best about this is that it’s free, fun and educational,” she said.