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Sandymount show mixes creativity with science


VOLCANOES ERUPTED, electricity flowed from minerals, buzzers buzzed, and a recording of Elton John's "Rocket Man" played behind an exhibit called "Rockets, Shuttles and Space Exploration" during Sandymount Elementary's first Science Show recently.

Fifth-graders at the school had one week to research a topic of their choice and create an exhibit for the show; 96 entries filled tabletops in the cafeteria Tuesday night. Parents and children visited the displays to read about, and sometimes experience, the exhibits.

The ever-popular rubber chicken bone made it to the science show, thanks to Erin Young, whose display included an explanation of why vinegar causes a chicken bone to become rubbery. Brittney Weise brought in the classic singing-glasses experiment.

About 12 glasses, filled with colored water at various levels, were lined up on a table in front of a backdrop that explained why each glass had a different pitch. Visitors could pick up a spoon to play a tune.

Ben Seher, son of Kathy and Ralph Seher, drew a crowd to his display as he mixed the appropriate amounts of baking soda, vinegar, food coloring and dish soap and poured it into a clay crater.

Seconds later, "lava" oozed over the sides.

"Well, it wasn't like on the Brady Bunch when it flew all over Marcia," one parent said.

"Do it again," children begged, and Ben was happy to oblige. His volcano fired up many times during the 2 1/2 -hour show.

"Assignments like this one that allow students to look into something that they are interested in really work," said Janice Toth, whose son, Gary, researched what robots do in space and how shuttles fly. "He did so much of this on his own initiative because he is interested in the topic. This was one of the first assignments that we didn't have to push him. If anything, he pushed us."

Janice and her husband, Gary, helped develop the soundtrack that played behind their son's display. They pulled together a tape with David Bowie's "Space Oddity," Elton John's "Rocket Man," and the "Star Wars" theme.

Other exhibits highlighted the life of daphnia, or water fleas; minerals; things that sink and float; crawfish; friction; fossils; the telegraph; the solar system; the Hubble Telescope and exoskeletons.

Nick Zgorski, son of Tammye and Joe Zgorski, had lots of minerals around the house and decided to see which ones conducted electricity.

With a wire hooked to a battery-powered light bulb, he showed visitors which minerals enabled the bulb to shine: copper and pyrite were winners.

"This science show is wonderful," said Pam Velonosky, whose son, Devin, researched the Hubble Space Telescope. "Carroll County has a great hands-on science program, and my son is a science freak. This show is perfect for the students."

Always in style

The holidays brought a surprise for Michael Hollingshead, a Carroll County native and Westminster High School graduate known as one of the best hair stylists and color consultants around.

When stars like Kenny Loggins, Martina McBride, Brooke Shields and Smokey Robinson gathered in Washington for a Christmas program for President Clinton, producers from CBS called Matrix Essentials Hair Co. for help.

Almost before he could pack his brushes and curling irons, Hollingshead was on his way to the National Building Museum, where he worked on the hair of the rich and famous.

Most of the stars were down to earth, Hollingshead said. Or as down to earth as you can be when you are followed by handlers, secretaries and a makeup artist, as McBride was throughout the event.

McBride was having a flat hair day and needed some lift. Hollingshead used a big curling iron, brushed her hair out, and up it went.

Loggins, who has very fine hair, sang while Hollingshead and others blow-dried his hair.

"There was no small talk with him, but he was down to earth," said Hollingshead. "He played back a tape of dress rehearsal and sang with it to work on timing and everything."

Though he didn't get to work with Shields or Robinson, Hollingshead did meet them.

"It was all very exciting. There were security checks, backstage passes. The tickets to the show were $1,000 each, and most of the who's who were there," said Hollingshead. "We watched the program on a monitor in the Green Room."

Then there were cocktail parties and more cocktail parties. During one party, Hollingshead saw Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, but he didn't cross the throng to meet them.

When he is not hobnobbing with the rich and famous or doing color classes for Matrix, Hollingshead is working at Headquarters in Westminster, where he has worked for 10 years.

Pub Date: 12/28/98

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