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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Wood Magic captivates youngsters

By Lynn Davis

Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 10 - October 29, 1998

Racing termites and blowing soap bubbles through red-oak sticks--who wouldn't have fun trying such outrageous stunts? Recently, some 600 third and fourth graders got the chance to have fun learning about wood science, thanks to organizer and engineer Audrey Zink-Sharp, associate professor of wood science, and industry supporters.

Virginia Tech's Brooks Forest Products Lab hosted the first Annual Wood Magic Show, October 13-14. An education program for third- and fourth-graders, the show presented factual information about the forest-products industry in a fun-loving way.
Students conducted a number of experiments and enjoy hands-on demonstrations. Events included testing wooden sticks and guessing at what weight they would break, making a wood sandwich of plywood, looking at termites with an electron microscope, combusting nitrocellulose, sawing a log and putting it back together like a puzzle, making paper, racing termites, blowing soap bubbles through red-oak sticks, recycling wooden pallets and paper products, learning about how wood products enter into their lives every day, watching a harvesting truck move huge logs onto a logging rigger, and, lastly, planting a tree.
The Wood Magic Show was designed to teach children how vital the forest-products industries and forest harvesting are to their lives and how the industry is taking a responsible approach to the use of natural resources. Co-sponsoring the event with the Department of Wood Science and Forest Products was the Virginia Forest Products Association. Funding for the program came almost entirely from industry and agency donations.
The instructional program was developed around the state's standards of learning for third and fourth grades and was so well received by grade schools in the region that registrations filled up immediately. Fourteen third-grade classes attended the Tuesday program and 12 fourth-grade classes on Wednesday. The three-hour multi-event program treated to a mid-show snack and lunch on site. Visit the web site at http://woodmagic.forprod.vt.edu.