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URMC / Labs / Benoit Lab / Outreach / 4th Grade Science Experience


Hands on Science Experience: Mrs. Hoffend's 4th Grade Class

2nd Annual Elementary School Outreach

November 2012

Science Expo 2012

Class 2012 group photo (Enlarged image)

Donna Hoffend's 4th-grade elementary school class returned to the Benoit Lab at the University of Rochester to learn about Biomedical Engineering. Students learned about what it means to be an engineer and the different areas of biomedical engineering before participating in hands-on scientific demonstrations. Students learned how solids and gasses are affected by freezing temperatures by introducing balloons and flowers to liquid nitrogen, learned about chemical reactions by polymerizing gak using borax and glue, investigated the special properties of laminar flow, and learned how material stiffness can affect cell behavior by investigating different Jell-O based hydrogels.

1st Annual Elementary School Outreach

November 2011

Danielle with Students

Dr. Danielle Benoit instructing Mrs. Hoffend's
​ students on the finer points of non-Newtonian fluid.

What happens when Mrs. Hoffend's fourth grade class visits BME? Well, baking soda-vinegar volcanoes erupt, materials change color, texture, and shape, and Freaky Friday takes on a whole new meaning! The Benoit Lab set up a series of four stations around Goergen Hall and provided the fourth graders with a hands-on science learning experience. Mrs. Hoffend wanted to do a project on scientists in our local area, and learn more about the research that they are involved with. Her students spent several weeks researching, reading, and writing about the Benoit Lab in preparation for the visit.

Graduate student, Amy Van Hove worked with Mrs. Hoffend to create a memorable experience for both the fourth graders and the lab personnel. I remember science demos were one of my favorite activities in elementary school. So when Mrs. Hoffend contacted us, I was very excited about her project. Everyone involved did a great job preparing and running the demos, and we all had a great time working with the kids, said Van Hove, who organized the event.

Van Hove with Students

Graduate student, Amy Van Hove, showing
Mrs. Hoffend's ​ students how changing temperature
affects how some materials behave.

My students were extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to meet and interact with a variety of scientists on this special day in the biomedical engineering lab at the University of Rochester. The children returned to school talking about all the wonderful things they had seen and done and many were saying they now want to be scientists! I cannot thank Dr. Benoit enough for the use of her labs, Amy for her take charge attitude to make this experience happen for the children, and for all the wonderful members of the labs that helped to make this day possible and rewarding for these young students, said Mrs. Hoffend about the children's experience.