GREENFIELD — The renown Physics Bus, run by the Physics Factory out of Arizona, recently came to South County to pay a visit to the Greenfield Community Science Workshop.
Upon hearing that this was the last day of summer school at Arroyo Seco Academy, Physics Bus driver and instructor Kip Perkins offered to bring an entire day of activities for the Greenfield students for free on July 16.
Together with staff from the Science Workshop, Perkins rotated through every student in the summer school program and many in the after-school program — about 400 youth in total.
“We thought this could turn into a great learning opportunity for our kids,” said Jose Sanchez, director of the Greenfield Community Science Workshop.
The Physics Bus consists of 20 hands-on, interactive science exhibits mounted inside the vehicle as well as several more boisterous activities outside.
Inside activities included many optical marvels involving lasers, flashing LED lights and mirrors in addition to magnetic and fluid-dynamic exhibits, which students could manipulate by hand or with pumps and switches. Outside, there were compressed air rockets, magnetic sand, a giant bag that could vacuum pack a small person and a plasma aluminum foil cutter.
Veronica Hernandez, who was in charge of the summer school program, quickly coordinated all the classes to come through the Physics Bus that Tuesday. Limary Gutierrez of the Greenfield Union School District ran the after-school component and was pleased to take advantage of this special opportunity for the youth.
“Students all in all had a blast learning and experiencing science concepts in a fun and friendly manner,” said Curt Gabrielson, co-director of the Greenfield Community Science Workshop.
According to Gabrielson, Perkins had heard about the Community Science Workshops years ago and established one in Arizona for a time.
“Now he’s retired and living in St. Louis, Mo., but can think of nothing more enjoyable to do with his summer than driving across the country and presenting the wonders of science to kids on the central coast,” Gabrielson said.
Before he arrived in Greenfield, Perkins presented the Physics Bus at several schools in Watsonville and other places nearby. He had visited the Greenfield Community Science Workshop once in the past and “had such a good time, he was keen to make another visit,” Gabrielson said.
Perkins stayed for two days before driving back to the Bay Area.
Greenfield Community Science Workshop will continue to be open for the rest of the summer for drop-in visits from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays at 45 El Camino Real in Greenfield.