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Posted: September 25, 2009 12:01 a.m.

Mobile Discovery Center visits local elementary school

By Brittany Thomas/

Students at East Newton Elementary School received a hands-on experience with science Thursday by boarding the National Science Center’s Mobile Discovery Center — a rolling science class designed by the United States Army.

Third and fourth grade students learned about electricity by turning themselves into conductors, powering everything from light bulbs to lightsabers. The 18-wheeler that houses the center provides small interactive exhibits and displays, such as a plasma ball and Tesla coils. The center is staffed by army military and the department of army civilian personnel.

"The Mobile Discovery Center van combines two functions — a classroom and an exhibit hall — into one facility," according to a press release from the National Science Center. "As a classroom, it features hands-on science demonstrations designed to be fun and informative and to involve the visitors in the demonstrations. And as an exhibit hall, it showcases small interactive exhibits and displays."

According to East Newton teachers, the students have been excited about the experience and have really enjoyed the interactive element of the discovery center.

"It was a lot of fun," said 9-year-old Courtney Britt. "I really liked it."

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