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Game, Experiments Bring ‘100 Percent Fun’ to City Schools Students

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Above the noise of thousands of children talking and doing what youngsters do when they attend a college basketball game (some for the first time), 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 11,000-plus-seat Murphy Center Tuesday morning. He said it was his first time to be in the arena.

He said he was having “lots of fun watching the basketball” (activity) on Education Day, a partnership between Murfreesboro City Schools and MT Athletics, when the MTSU Lady Raiders would meet in-state rival Austin Peay in a women’s basketball game and the students attended on a field trip.

MTSU, now 5-3 on the season, beat the Lady Governors 70-56 before 10,107 people, the second-largest crowd in the program’s history.

Minutes earlier, Burke, his fellow students and their teachers in grades K-6 and administrators from 10 city schools witnessed STEM 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 where a wooden stick was pushed completely through the balloon without it bursting. In the second experiment, Alka-Seltzer tablets and water together in a small film canister 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 (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activity led by Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross, chemistry professor and director of the MTSU WISTEM Center.

In addition to College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer and chemistry department chair Dr. Greg Van Patten, Iriarte-Gross was assisted by Georgia native and senior anthropology major Kellum Everett and freshmen Sierra Shipley (criminal justice major/chemistry minor) of Palmer, Tenn., and Caleb Hough (biology major) of Murfreesboro.

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 anticipated 7,500 students in attendance.

Also, members of the Scales girls’ basketball team and their coaches were part of the high-five tunnel for the Lady Raiders. Other fun activities included during the game included 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.

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. Attendance was 10,107, the second largest crowd in the program’s history. (Photo by Andy Heidt/MTSU Creative and Visual Services)

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Josh Calbaugh, MT Athletics director of marketing, said he hopes this will be the first of many Education Days in bringing school children to campus.