Physics Students Dazzle Elementary Students with Science

a collage of college students performing tasks for younger students

Rhodes College’s Society of Physics Students (SPS) put smiles on the faces of students at Shelby Oaks Elementary Jan. 26 with science demonstrations. Hundreds of parents and students came out to Science Family Night held at the school located at 6053 Summer Ave.

“A fire tornado demonstration of forest fires started the evening and built the anticipation of the students,” says the school’s principal, Dr. Catherine Diezi. “Students observed several stations where the Rhodes group demonstrated and discussed scientific concepts. School staff and parents thank Rhodes College for allowing their students to provide a fun and engaging evening.”

Other demonstrations included a vacuum chamber and levitating superconductor. The elementary students even got a chance to stand on spinning disks. Among the SPS members who participated in Science Night were Jordan Meyer ’16 (president), Peyton Marshall ’17, James Stuckey ’17, Eleanor Hook ’18, Madison Tallant ’19, and Benjamin Chappell ’19.

“As a chapter, we really enjoy the opportunity to take physics beyond our classrooms at Rhodes,” says Hook, who organized the visit to Shelby Oaks. “We have a lot of fun working with children at events like this and hope to cultivate students’ interest in science. We are very active in the Memphis community, with off-campus outreach events scheduled most weeks.”

The SPS chapter at Rhodes has been recognized numerous times by the national organization for efforts to positively influence the attitudes of school children and the general public about physics. Rhodes alumna Sarah “Elizabeth” Williams ’00 teaches second grade at Shelby Oaks Elementary and adds that the teachers are always looking for fun ways to incorporate science into the curriculum. “I feel proud that students from my alma mater are making a difference in education!”