ES Library science show focuses on moon landing
By Billy Stidham
Jason Kucerik, aka “Jetpack Jason,” highlighted just how spectacular a feat the 1969 moon landing was Monday at the Eureka Springs Carnegie Public Library.
With the 50-year anniversary of the moon landing coming this July 20 it was the perfect time for the library to host Mad Science’s Jetpack Jason, who used volunteer children to demonstrate the complex nature of rocket science in a way that the children in attendance could get excited about.
“I was always doing science when I was a kid,” said Kucerik. “It’s pretty important to make education entertaining. If it’s even the least bit fun you can change someone’s whole perspective on a subject.”
Kucerik works for Mad Science doing fun and exciting science experiments to get kids interested in Science Engineering Technology and Math (STEM) fields. On Monday he had kids launch balloon and seltzer rockets, act out rocket trajectories from Earth to the moon and represent the planets of the solar system.
As fun as he made it seem he also made it clear that science is hard work and anyone interested should start checking out books on the subject and paying attention in their math and science classes. At one point Kucerik showed the crowd the equation that NASA uses to launch rockets through space.
“I get to do these experiments and if kids think it’s really cool then they can explore the principles and ideas on their own or with a teacher,” Kucerik said. “I can’t dedicate a semester to explaining the way it all works but I can get them excited about it.”
The kids loved participating. When demonstrating the difficulties of space travel one 9-year-old, Patrick (Bug), played the moon orbiting the earth while another participant tried to land a shuttle on him. Bug said he “really liked wearing the space helmet,” for protection from incoming foam rockets.
Kucerik said the excitement “all comes down to that question of why or how. Why does it work this way? How does this work at all? There’s always more doors those questions can open up, especially for a young mind.”
The fun experiments and the show are a collaboration with performers like Kucerik and Mad Science.
“Some of them come from Mad Science’s research and development team,” Kucerik said. “They make sure that we’re showing kids experiments that are fun but also safe. They come up with and approve the experiments but we design the show and just have fun with it.”
“I think events like this make science fun for kids,” Eureka Springs Library director Loretta Crenshaw said. “If it sparks their imagination or if they didn’t know the answer to some of the why and how behind it all they can come in and ask me if there are books on the moon landing. There are, and of course they can check them out to feed their curiosity.”