Game, experiments bring ‘100 percent fun’ to city ...

Game, experiments bring ‘100 percent fun’ to city schools students

Murfreesboro City Schools€™ coordinators Caresa Brooks, front left, and Kristina Maddux celebrate successful “€œBalloon Kabobs” during Education Day Dec. 4 in Murphy Center. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

Above the noise of thousands of children talking and doing what youngsters do at a college basketball game, Cameron Burke said he was having “100 percent fun.”

Burke, 9, a fourth-grade student at John Pittard Elementary School in Murfreesboro, was having a grand time inside Murphy Center Tuesday morning.

A first-time visitor to the 11,000-plus-seat facility, Burke said he was having “lots of fun watching the basketball” on Education Day, a partnership between the Murfreesboro City Schools and MT Athletics, where the MTSU Lady Raiders met in-state rival Austin Peay in a basketball game and the students attended on a field trip.

Minutes earlier, Burke, his fellow students and their teachers in grades K-6 and administrators from 10 city schools witnessed science, technology, engineering and mathematics in action in two science experiments, “Balloon Kabob” and “Alka-Seltzer Bottle Rockets.”

“It was cool. I wish I could do that,” Burke said after watching both experiments.

The first pushed a wooden stick completely through a balloon without bursting it, and the second brought Alka-Seltzer tablets and water together in a small film canister to create a gas. With the lid on tight and canister turned upside down, the combustion blows the canister into the air.

All of the children were amazed by the STEM activity led by Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross, an MTSU chemistry professor and director of the MTSU WISTEM Center.

College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer and chemistry department chair Dr. Greg Van Patten assisted Iriarte-Gross with the experiments, along with senior anthropology major Kellum Everett and freshmen Sierra Shipley, a criminal justice major, and biology major Caleb Hough.

Students from two sixth-grade classes at Siegel Elementary and students from Scales Elementary also participated in the on-the-court exercises.

Later, Murfreesboro City Schools’ personnel performed math and letter-writing drills for the estimated 7,500 students in attendance.

Members of the Scales girls’ basketball team and their coaches also were part of the high-five tunnel for the Lady Raiders as the university team ran onto the floor of Hale Arena. Other fun activities during the game included a “chicken toss,” mummy game, musical chairs and dizzy bat race.

Other schools attending included Black Fox, Bradley and Cason Lane academies, Hobgood, Mitchell-Neilson, Northfield and the Discovery School at Reeves-Rogers.

Josh Calbaugh, MT Athletics director of marketing, said he hopes this will be the first of many Educational Days to bring area schools’ students to campus.

— Randy Weiler (

MTSU freshmen Sierra Shipley and Caleb Hough perform the “Balloon Kabob” science experiment in front of several thousand Murfreesboro City Schools students Dec. 4 during the Education Day basketball game between the Lady Raiders and Austin Peay.

Nearly 7,500 Murfreesboro City Schools students enjoy a field trip to MTSU’€™s Murphy Center for the Lady Raiders’ Dec. 4 Education Day game against Austin Peay.