By Val Simon
Dr. Vincent Albanese from Marco Island Charter Middle School teaches science to a group of eager sixth graders. Several projects are completed throughout the year by the students. A mousetrap race car, a volcano, building towers made out of straws and toothpicks and piece de resistance, dissection, including worms, clams, crawfish and fetal pigs.
Dr. A, as the students refer to him, challenges the students and they respond to the hands-on projects with excitement and determination. The volcano project offers students the choice of making a volcano cake, or building a volcano to erupt. The cakes are shared amongst the students. The other volcanos which are made of clay, hardened (expandable) foam or other materials, are painted and prepped. The class sets up outside where there is no limit to how high ‘lava’ can fly. Baking soda is put in the volcano and vinegar is added. As the mixture starts to bubble and expand, a cork is placed in the top of the volcano until POP! Out flies the cork and ‘lava’!