Saturday, September 15, 2007

"Mister Wizard" Visits AVID Classes

Our first guest speaker in AVID this year demonstrated how you can walk though paper. More importantly, though, he showed students that you can combine the things you love with your education to find a fun and interesting job. Rob Vary, brother of our own AVID tutor Kathy Vary, spoke to four AVID classes this week while visiting Sicily.

Rob grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania just a few years ago. He earned his bachelor's degree in physics, but he spent much of his free time in the field of drama. "I acted in just about every production the college performed," he told students.

He also began to work at the college's planetarium, and eventually developed a program to showcase it to people outside the science department.

All of that has led him to his current job with the Maryland Science Center in their outreach program. He works with a team to produce and deliver shows about science to schools and libraries. Their "big shows" are for audiences up to 250 students, while "small shows" are for classroom-size audiences. "Our goal is to get kids of all ages really excited about science," he said. They do that with everything from explosions to simple demonstrations for students from kindergarten up to seniors in high school.

Rob demonstrated one act from a show he does called "Mindbenders." Using a class member, he taught/reviewed the scientific method and showed how you can "walk through paper."

Students had opportunities, as always with guest speakers, to ask questions afterwards. We all greatly enjoyed Rob Vary's visit and thank him for using some of his vacation time to talk to us!

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Hey! Just wanted to say that I had a great time talking to all of your kids, and to thank you for a great experience in Sicily. Your students had some great questions, and all seemed very interested in what I had to say. I'd love to do it again, if I ever make it back to Sicily.

(Oh, and the show is called "Brain Benders." Not to be picky, but it is my favorite show, after all!)
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