Wheeler Elementary students watched a toy surfer in a wave machine yesterday outside the Hawaii Institute for Geophysics at the University of Hawaii. The free open house put on by the School of Ocean & Earth Science & Technology continues today for the public.

Kids tune in to UH
science expo

Students get their eyes opened
by various research exhibits

By Helen Altonn

Christina Toyama, 16, of Lutheran High School learned from a deep-sea drilling program that the Big Island is sinking.

"I had no idea," she said, adding that it made her interested in oceanography.

At an exhibit on meteorite research in Antarctica, Chris Hiyane, Hawaii Baptist Academy sixth-grader, found that "you have to wear really heavy boots to keep warm."

Camille Watts, Lanikai Elementary School fifth-grader, balanced a hanger on her head to show classmates how gravity works.

Wheeler Elementary School third-graders Aaron Vick, Hope Holbrook and Jahmal Bonds painted fish with watercolors to make prints of them yesterday.

These students were among more than 3,000 from 45 public and private schools who swarmed through the University of Hawaii's School of Ocean & Earth Science & Technology at an open house yesterday. The free event continues from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today for the public.

Christina Heliker will present an update on the Pu'u O'o Eruption of Kilauea in a lecture from noon to 1 p.m. today in the Institute of Geophysics, Room 110.

Hands-on activities, exhibits and demonstrations at SOEST's sixth biennial open house range from complex research involving the Global Positioning System to make maps and study Earth's movements, synthesis of diamonds in a laboratory and remote sensing of Earth from space to tattoo parlors and gyotaku fish printing with dead fish.

Volcanoes were among the most popular topics, with simulated lava flows and explosive eruptions, computer games for volcanoes and videos of "restless volcanoes."

Other exhibits described tsunamis, undersea and planetary research, the climate system, marine organisms, precious corals and deep-sea critters, among many other areas studied by SOEST scientists.

Researcher Falk Amelung fascinated students as he fed water into a container of sand and flour to simulate lava flowing into a magma chamber. Different calderas were formed and there were other effects. In one case a landslide occurred.

"Now we know what volcanoes are doing," Amelung said. "These things happen on Earth."

About 100 Waipahu Elementary sixth-graders absorbed the volcano information, and many will see the real thing during a three-day trip to the Big Island next week, said Ashley White, special-education teacher.

Geophysicist Fred Duennebier's "Make a Quake" demonstration kept kids entertained hitting a metal plate with a sledgehammer attached to a recording device.

Waving their recordings at Duennebier, one asked, "How good was mine?"

"Was mine better than his?" asked another.

Marc Priester, Wheeler Elementary third-grader, proudly proclaimed he "got a good one" and learned an earthquake "can make wave lengths. It's powerful."

Poster winners

Some isle schoolchildren will be treated to tours of Hanauma Bay and Coconut Island thanks to classmates who won yesterday's "Science to Da Max" posters at the University of Hawaii School of Ocean & Earth Science & Technology open house. Individual winners received a Hanauma Bay poster designed by marine artist Wyland. Winners from the grade K-3 and 4-6 categories also will receive a two-hour tour of Hanauma Bay for their class. The winner in the grade 7-8 category also won a two-hour tour at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology Laboratory on Coconut Island for her class. SOEST marine scientists will lead the tours.

The winners:

>> Grades K-3
First place: John Opiopio, Puohala Elementary
Second place: Camille Ennis, Trinity Christian
Third place: Dawn Nabua, Puohala

>> Grades 4-6
First place: Eric Liaw, Punahou School
Second place: Michelle Costilli, Mokapu Elementary
Third place: Kyla Koerber, Mokapu

>> Grades 7-8
First place: Jenna Tamashiro, Iolani School
Second place: Ame Uyema, Iolani School

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