To a fifth-grader, there's nothing much cooler than an exploding balloon of hydrogen - there's the green flame and a loud boom.
And then there's the lesson.
As the Burroughs Elementary fifth-graders ooohed about the display, they learned that hydrogen is the first element on the periodic table and is flammable.
"That's why you don't fill birthday balloons with hydrogen gas," said Carl Nelson, chief scientist with Toledo's Imagination Station, an interactive science center downtown.
The presentation at the school on South Avenue launched a program sponsored by The Blade and Taylor Automotive Group this school year to send all TPS fifth graders to Imagination Station for a visit to punctuate science lessons presented in the museum's "Forces and Motion" educational program.
Scads of education research show hands-on, interactive learning helps children to better understand and remember what they are taught.
The $50,000 program includes other events for the about 2,000 fifth-graders in TPS classrooms and field trips for teachers so they can learn how to use hands-on science at the science center and in the classroom.
Stephen Taylor, president of Taylor Automotive, said he wanted to "show my vote of confidence" for Toledo Public Schools.
He told the assembled children Wednesday that some of his grandchildren are about the same age and enjoy Imagination Station. He said if the students work hard in school, success will follow.
"My grandfather taught me that the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary," he said.
Fran Lawrence, president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers, also spoke at the ceremony.
"Our students will see how scientists work," she said. "I know this will pique their interests in science and science careers."
As part of the program, teachers will monitor student performance and identify a fifth-grader from their class who over the year improves the most in science.
At the end of the year, a recognition ceremony at Imagination Station will honor the top-performing students and their families.
Contact Christopher D. Kirkpatrick at: