Combine a love of science with a love of teaching, and you get Buffalo State’s student chapter of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Add a love of snow, and you get NSTA members at a uniquely Buffalo event, Flurrious. Flurrious, the Olmsted Parks Conservancy’s annual winter festival, will take place on Saturday, January 26, in Delaware Park. NSTA members are hosting activities focusing on science related to snow and cold in the Parkside Lodge.
“I’m excited to do it,” said Ryan Frost, NSTA chapter president and a senior majoring in earth science education. “I love hands-on activities because they help people get past their fear that they can’t understand science.”
Michelle Parente, instructional support specialist in Earth Sciences and Science Education, is chapter adviser. “This is a very active, talented group of students,” she said. “They have done some great things, including a trip to conferences in Rochester and Cornell. Last year, they received an award for outstanding community service.”
At Flurrious, the enthusiastic group will lead a variety of workshops and demonstrations from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. “Last year, we had more than 100 kids,” said Frost. “Everyone is welcome.”
At 1:00 p.m., the Buffalo State students will demonstrate two phenomena, one using liquid nitrogen and the other using dry ice. “Liquid nitrogen is very cold,” said Frost. “If you put a banana in it, the banana freezes so hard that you can’t drive a nail through it.”
Other activities include making snowshoes and Inuit sun goggles. “To reduce the glare from sun on snow,” said Frost, “the Inuit looked through slits they cut in caribou antlers. We’re going to show the kids how to do that with construction paper.” A microscope for viewing snowflakes will also be available.
Frost has loved science since he was first introduced to it at a hunter safety course. “I learned a lot about conservation and biology,” he said. At first, Frost thought he wanted to work for the Department of Environmental Conservation. However, after tutoring other students in reading comprehension as a high school student, he decided to explore teaching as a career. Now he hopes to teach in the Buffalo Public Schools, which he attended.
The Buffalo State chapter of NSTA was founded last year. “It’s been a lot of fun to see it grow,” said Frost.