For kids the world over, summer is supreme. No school. No homework, just endless hours of fun. However, parents are still pressed with how to engage their children in learning during these months.
Look no further than the fourth event of Fort Bragg’s Family and MWR Summer Reading Program. On July 11 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., the program hosted “Living in a Vacuum, the Liquid Nitrogen Show: Space” at Throckmorton Library.
To add some flair and energy for the kids, an elite circus performer delivered the presentation. His name is Adam Dipert and his skill set includes juggling, acrobatic stilts and fire performances – to name a few.
Dipert is also in the final stages of completing his master’s in experimental nuclear physics from Arizona State University. His particular brand of entertainment and science experiments is a perfect combination to engage children in learning about science and reading.
The theme of this year’s reading program is “Reading Takes You Everywhere!” This time, reading took you to space. According to Natasha Dass-Ford, supervisory librarian at Throckmorton, the goal is to provide an interactive and informative experience.
“Adam’s performance consists of merging the two forms of circus and science into a playful and educational presentation,” said Dass-Ford. “The liquid nitrogen show is (Adam’s) original creation that he has presented to many audiences.”
More than 500 people showed up to the event, Dass-Ford said.
Dipert demonstrated how liquid nitrogen, which freezes at a higher temperature than water, transforms into various states of matter.
“In my scientific life, I focus on making liquids extremely cold. Colder than outer space actually,” said Dipert. “I’ve found that most people have no idea how we do that.”
He showed how changing a soft marshmallow into something hard can make it shatter against a wall on contact. Another educational activity at the event was a demonstration of a flexible tube molded into a stable structure.
When Dipert started to introduce an experiment about what happens to the air pressure of a balloon, one girl couldn’t contain herself and got up to get a closer look. Her name was Sofia Lamb and she came with her father, Chief Warrant Officer Shawn Lamb of Forces Command. “She loves to get up and volunteer,” Lamb said.
“I love to share that magic with people, especially young people, and I try my best to do it in a fun and playful way,” said Dipert.
According to Dass-Ford, these kinds of events are an effort to weave reading with the library’s science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) program.
Katie Brewster brought her three children – William, 9, Conner, 5, and Jacob, 3. She said she enjoys bringing them to these events to get them engaged in different ways.
Dipert said, “It was a lot of fun to look into the eyes of the little kids who were maybe understanding me and maybe not, but still be excited and sparkly as I danced along those somewhat complicated topics.”