Kids Judge! L.A. Science Fair | Spotlight

Fourth graders voted CSULA science exhibit as their favorite

CSULA students, faculty ‘jump start nerves’ at the 2010 Kids Judge! Science Fair

Photo of kids judging the CSULA exhibit.

Photo of kids judging the CSULA exhibit.

“Jump Start Your Nerves”—a science exhibit presented by Cal State L.A. students and faculty—was voted by fourth-grade students from South L.A. as the overall winner of the Kids Judge! Los Angeles Biomedical Science Fair (KJF) on Friday, Dec. 3.

KJF was a science fair where the tables were turned! The children from Foster and Carver Elementary Schools were the judges, while students, faculty and staff from Cal State L.A., Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, University of California at Los Angeles, and Loma Linda University were the presenters. The young judges were escorted to various science exhibits and activities held in the Loker Student Union at CSU Dominguez Hills by King/Drew Magnet High School students.

The objectives were two-fold: for the kids to learn about science through a fun, first-hand approach and for working scientists from several universities to learn how to explain concepts in biology and medicine to a young audience.

“Our exhibit taught the kids about how electrical activity is used by the nervous system, particularly to make muscles contract, thus the title ‘Jump Start Your Nerves’,” said CSULA Kinesiology Professor Ray de Leon. “We demonstrated this by using small devices called TENS units (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) that applied a small current to electrodes placed on their arms. The electrical stimulation caused their arm muscles to contract; the kids loved feeling that and seeing their fingers and wrist move involuntarily.”

In addition to de Leon, the CSULA exhibit team included Kinesiology Professor Christine Dy and students Pam See (kinesiology graduate; Alhambra resident); Vanessa Lopez (biology graduate; Pomona resident), Elizabeth Partida (biology graduate; Alhambra resident) and Eunice Wong (kinesiology undergraduate; Baldwin Park resident).

“KJF was a great experience to interact with kids,” Wong said, “and to present another side of science that they have not learned in school. It was fun watching them get so excited when we jump start their nerves!”

See added, “I like the opportunity to share with the community.”

Lopez said, “The best part was when we were on stage and one of our enthusiastic student judges said, ‘Let’s shock them back!’”

This event, undertaken in collaboration with Deborah Colbern, founder and director of the National Kids Judge! Partnership, is supported by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) to Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), an institute within the National Institutes of Health.

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