Clorox Co. helps teach science at MRES

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Mission Road Elementary School took its Family Science Night to a different level this year.

For the first time, the Clorox Co. sponsored the Cartersville school’s annual event Thursday night to “give students the opportunity to experience hands-on science activities with their families,” GATEWAY teacher Kimberly Wynn said.

“These events generate enthusiasm in our students and staff,” she said. “Also, [they] help build relationships between parents, students and the school.”

Wynn said she first learned that Clorox would “come help with events at schools” at no charge from a colleague.

“I contacted Danielle Freeman, [the] educational contact, and she came last year to visit my gifted classroom and did some experiments with my students,” she said. “She mentioned to me that her company sponsored science family nights. They brought all of the supplies and employees/interns to run the stations. Danielle has been a wonderful resource for all things related to science.”

Freeman, who met Wynn through the Atlanta Science Festival, said the company has a volunteer organization made up of roughly 100 volunteers that “go into the community and inspires kids to stick with STEM.”

“Our team mission is to support and promote science education excellence in local communities through volunteer work by Clorox employees,” she said. “Our efforts are targeted toward inspiring enthusiasm for and building up proficiency in science among underserved and underrepresented youth.”

The company has had a volunteer team at its corporate location in Oakland, California, for almost 35 years, Freeman said.

“The extension team here in Georgia has existed since May 2014, and we have inspired almost 130,000 future scientists since then,” she said.

About 250 students in pre-K through fifth grade and their parents and siblings attended the two-hour event and were able to conduct various science experiments and other hands-on activities.

“[Clorox’s] stations covered many areas of science,” Wynn said. “Students talked about scientific procedures while creating a s’more. We also had many other hands-on activities such as LEGOs, KEVA planks, a sand table and magnets for the students to experience. We had the Chick-fil-A cow pay a visit also.”

“Many of them are designed to show how our products work and the science behind them,” she said. “They are all fun and designed to show the kids how awesome STEM is. They are all hands-on and interactive on purpose.”

Fourth-grader Wyatt Bradley said he wanted to come to Science Night to “see what types of experiments they would do since it was going to be new stuff.”

The 9-year-old, who attended with his mom and twin brother, Weston, said he liked “seeing the dry-ice demonstration with the soap.”

Jennifer Schneider, 7, said she “loved writing down the steps to make a s’more and then getting to eat it.”

Accompanied by her mom, two sisters and two brothers, the second-grader said she “came because I knew my teacher, Mrs. [Sha] Ristroph was going to be there.”

Wynn was pleased with the way the evening turned out.

“All of the students had a wonderful time getting to be active participants in the activities,” she said. “The Clorox volunteers were great with the students and did a great job explaining the experiments to them.”

Freeman said she also was “very pleased with the outcome” but did admit she is “a bit biased.”

“The students were wonderful,” she said. “We also love to spend time with parents. They can do these things at home easily, and many parents circled back around to ask that question. It is always fun to inspire the kids and the parents at the same time. Appreciated the parents a lot last week.”

Wynn and Freeman worked closely together to plan a night that students and parents would enjoy, according to Freeman.

“We started talking about it before last year’s school year ended,” she said. “We were so thrilled to be able to share our time. We appreciate that Mission Road Elementary allows us to spend time with their most valuable asset — their kids.”