Northeast Times

Science and fun at Water Works

The Fair­mount Wa­ter Works In­ter­pret­ive Cen­ter takes a look at the moon and its ef­fect on wa­ter dur­ing their Au­gust Sci­ence Sat­urday events.

Is­rael Sanc­hez and hsi chil­dren Is­rael Js, 5, and Isaida, 8, par­ti­cip­ate in Sci­ence Sat­urday at Fair­mount Wa­ter Works In­ter­pret­ive Cen­ter, Sat­urday, Ju­ly 9, 2011.

To an­swer the age-old ques­tion of what makes our wa­ters ebb and flow, the Fair­mount Wa­ter Works In­ter­pret­ive Cen­ter will host a free edu­ca­tion­al pro­gram in Au­gust about the moon and its ef­fect on tides.

The Au­gust events are part of the Wa­ter Works’ Sci­ence Sat­urdays pro­gram, in which staff teach chil­dren and fam­il­ies about a dif­fer­ent wa­ter-re­lated top­ic each month.

“We’ve nev­er done the moon and tides [at Sci­ence Sat­urdays] be­fore … but it seemed like a per­fect fit for us,” said Meg Mal­loy, an en­vir­on­ment­al edu­cat­or at the wa­ter works. “We are right next to a tid­al river, and a lot of people don’t know that the Schuylkill River is tid­al up to the Fair­mount Dam.”

“So, the moon and tides theme was a nice way to talk about something that’s very rel­ev­ant out­side of our doors and still make our Sci­ence Sat­urdays in­ter­est­ing,” Mal­loy said.

Events will run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Sat­urday in Au­gust at the Wa­ter Works, and at­tendees will move through the sci­ence cen­ter at half-hour in­ter­vals.

Mal­loy said a co-op stu­dent from Drexel Uni­versity dreamed up the tid­al theme for this month’s pro­gram­ming.

“I’ve al­ways had an in­terest in space, the sol­ar sys­tem and the uni­verse,” said Shan­non Arm­strong, a ju­ni­or work­ing as an edu­ca­tion­al as­sist­ant at the Wa­ter Works as part of her co-op at Drexel. “So, I really wanted to tie that in­to a fun sci­ence activ­ity that the stu­dents could do.”

Vis­it­ors will view a short present­a­tion about tides and make moon di­als and cal­en­dars to track tides and moon phases at home.

“I’m ex­cited, es­pe­cially since it’s something that I have so much in­terest in,” Arm­strong said of run­ning her first event at the Wa­ter Works. “I just thought it was so fun to re­search it and put it to­geth­er. Hope­fully I’ll be suc­cess­ful and some­body can learn something.”

The Wa­ter Works, built in 1812 to pump drink­ing wa­ter to the city, en­cour­ages at­tendees of all ages to vis­it Sci­ence Sat­urdays and learn more about the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers and en­vir­on­ment­al stew­ard­ship.

“I al­ways see Sci­ence Sat­urdays as a little win­dow of sci­ence and fun crammed in­to a small amount of time,” Mal­loy said. “It’s al­ways about dif­fer­ent top­ics. People should feel free to pop in be­cause we change it every month.”

In ad­di­tion to Sci­ence Sat­urdays, the Wa­ter Works will have more fam­ily fun in the form of Rango, an an­im­ated com­edy star­ing the voice of Johnny Depp that will be screened in the cen­ter’s un­der­ground theat­er.

Of course, there is wa­ter-themed edu­ca­tion­al as­pect here too — the movie tells the tale of chamele­on strug­gling to sur­vive in the bone-dry town of Dirt. The film will be aired each Sunday in Au­gust at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. 

The Fair­mount Wa­ter Works In­ter­pret­ive Cen­ter is loc­ated at 640 Wa­ter­works Drive, dir­ectly be­hind the Phil­adelphia Mu­seum of Art.  For more in­form­a­tion call 215-685-0723 or vis­it www.fair­moun­t­water­works.com.••

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