Getting Ready for Science Surprises

Vicki Cobb's Visit with Kids

NOTE: Please have each child hold a large index card with his or her first name printed in large  black letters so that my middle-aged eyes can read them. The kids are to hold up their name cards, as if at an auction, so that I can call on them.  It makes a huge difference to the smoothness and pace of my performance if I can call on children by name.  So please make sure that the names are readable and don't pin them onto the kids.  (Please, don't let them decorate their cards.) Also distribute the cards so that the kids have them before they come into the assembly. It also might be helpful to have the teachers reminded about the cards over the PA system the morning of my visit.

I make the program very interactive and the name cards make it absolutely clear who I'm calling on, while creating an intimacy not possible if I can't call them by name. Kids who don't have name cards feel excluded from the proceedings and I don't like to interrupt the program while name cards are distributed. So I don't start until every kid has a card. The biggest problem I have with the kids and the cards, is that they get so caught up in the interactivity I have to remind them to use them. 

Please don't discuss the contents of this list with the kids in anticipation of my visit. I don't want the cat let out of the bag.
Please prepare a carton for me for demonstration purposes containing the following:

some kind of bell to ring for attention

1 sharp pencil
gallon-sized food wrap size plastic "Baggies" (one for each presentation)
pitcher of water (the pitcher should be open at the top, not a plastic juice container)
broomstick (broom not necessary)
paper towels
2 empty 2 liter plastic soda bottles, clean and dry with labels removed
food coloring (any color but yellow)
extension cord
power strip
a globe of the world (I like a globe that is as large as possible showing the continents in different colors, one that is easy to see from a distance.)

three rolls of ordinary household toilet paper (not the large size used in institutions)

an electric leaf blower if I'm not coming by car

Overhead projector and VCR should be available for all presentations or a computer and lcd projector. I'll bring a flash drive with my presentation.  Please allow one full hour for grades 2 and up;  ten minutes to get settled for a fifty minute program.
 I prefer an informal setting with kids sitting on the floor to an auditorium, if possible..
 I bring my own wireless microphone that can plug into just about any speaker system portable or built in.  If I'm not going to be in a room that has a PA system, please provide a some kind of portable speakers.

To Reach Vicki Cobb