Penns Valley

Penns Valley-area groups, students gather at science fair

Addison Biddle, 4, looks through a microscope at Ellen McHenry’s table during the science fair night at Centre Hall-Potter Elementary School on Wednesday.
Addison Biddle, 4, looks through a microscope at Ellen McHenry’s table during the science fair night at Centre Hall-Potter Elementary School on Wednesday. adrey@centredaily.com

Jackson Homan stood next to an observation bee hive and scanned nearly every row of honey comb.

The 8-year-old was attempting to spot the queen bee in the small apiary donated by Penn State to the Centre County Beekeepers Association.

It took him a few minutes, but Jackson found her in the middle of the comb. She was almost double the size of the other bees.

She dipped her rear into an opening of a comb and then popped back out — and did it a few more times.

Local beekeeper Dee Bagshaw said that was an indication the queen bee was laying eggs.

“It’s something she does at least a thousand times a day,” Bagshaw said.

Centre Hall-Potter Elementary hosted 20 school and community exhibitors for a community science night held in partnership with Penn State

Centre County Beekeepers Association was among about 20 community groups showcased at a science fair Wednesday night at Centre Hall-Potter Elementary School.

The event was held at the school for the first time in partnership with Penn State’s Eberly College of Science.

“It’s not like the other Exploration-U events,” Mandy Biddle, of Penn State’s Science Outreach office, said.

Exploration-U is a name for Penn State’s community science nights hosted in partnership with local school districts and other community outreach programs.

Normally, STEM work from students is on display.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

This time, they took a more community-focused approach that included 16 of 20 exhibitors from the Brush and Penns Valley communities.

The goal, Biddle said was to get more kids involved in the sciences, while also bridging the gap between the community and school district.

We have a ton of local exhibitors, because Penns Valley is a really community-focused area. It’s grounded by these businesses that have a lot going on and can sometimes translate into class.

Mandy Biddle, of Penn State’s Science Outreach department

“We have a ton of local exhibitors, because Penns Valley is a really community-focused area,” Biddle said. “It’s grounded by these businesses that have a lot going on and can sometimes translate into class.”

It included the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Centre Hall Library, Valley Ag and Turf, Mountainside Homestead, Confer’s Taxidermy, exhibits from Penn State students, and at least one from the Penns Valley Area School District.

Jason Confer, of Confer’s Taxidermy, displayed some stuffed animals that he and his son made into bobble-headed attractions.

“It’s just a different take on general taxidermy,” Confer said. “It’s a little different and they (the kids) seem to like it.”

For Kristen Albright, what is usually used during class curriculum turned into playtime for some kids Wednesday night.

The library media specialist and technology coach set up a robot petting zoo that allowed students to play with four types of robots.

“We bought the robots for class use, but are using them for something different tonight,” Albright said.

Albright oversees school libraries in the district that she calls “maker spaces.” There, students can program and code the robots using technology.

On Wednesday, kids used iPads to control the robots.

“It’s exciting to be able to show what we use at school, but also include the community,” Albright said.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

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