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Students jump for science in Fleet Science Center's 50th anniversary event

Did you feel it?

The ground moved, Tuesday morning, across San Diego county. But it didn’t quite make it to the Richter scale.

"This is about jumping for where we've been, jumping up for where we are, and jumping into the future," said Steve Snyder, CEO and President of the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

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The Center wrapped up its 50th-anniversary celebration with a collective jumping experiment. For a couple of minutes, at exactly 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, hundreds of people jumped, shook and moved to a Taylor Swift song blaring in the Fleet's main hall. Most of them were students from schools across the county on a field trip.

The idea was to get so much motion going that it could be picked up by handmade seismographs on the floor.

All of it was in the name of science, which is a subject most of the visiting students enjoy.

“You can learn a lot of things, and it (science) can do a lot of things for you," said Alaina Cruz, 6, a first-grade student at Midland Elementary in Poway. She was in the middle of the jumping and said, "We're jumping to see if the floor can shake.” 

The Fleet Science Center provided instructions for students to create their own seismograph made with a cardboard box, string, and a paper cup, San Diego, Calif., December 5, 2023
M.G. Perez
/
KPBS
The Fleet Science Center provided instructions for students to create their own seismograph made with a cardboard box, string, and a paper cup, San Diego, Calif., December 5, 2023

The experiment didn't quite make it to the Richter scale. Instead, young scientists were hoping to make a mark on their handmade seismographs.

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The Fleet provided instructions and materials to make a DIY seismograph. The materials included a cardboard box, string, a paper cup and marbles.

While the Fleet's Balboa Park headquarters were the epicenter of the experiment, there were dozens of schools around the county doing the same thing at the same time.

According to the Center’s statistics, children only spend 5% of their waking hours in school.

“Our brains are learning all the time. So, what we’re engaged in is how do we engage that other 95% of our waking hours. Kids are learning all the time. Because they do. They're sponges. They're excited. They are scientists," Snyder said.

Third-grade students at Feaster Charter School work on their handmade seismographs, Tuesday, before joining the collective jump experiment sponsored by the Fleet Science Center, Chula Vista, Calif., December 5, 2023
Cassie Lyn-Santos Rivaldi
/
Feaster Charter School
Third-grade students at Feaster Charter School work on their handmade seismographs, Tuesday, before joining the collective jump experiment sponsored by the Fleet Science Center, Chula Vista, Calif., December 5, 2023

In its half a century of operation, the Fleet estimates 26 million people have visited and been served in discovering and learning about the power of science.

The StudioX maker space at the Fleet is hosting a shake table activity that lets visitors engineer, build and test structures to see if they can withstand an earthquake.

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