MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

September 26, 2013

Hornet Night brings crowd

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Borax goop got harder and thicker as Hilldale Elementary first-grader Maddox Meza stirred it Thursday at his school.

“It feels like I’m punching rocks,” he said as he counted his stirring strokes.

Thursday was a busy night for Maddox, his schoolmates and their parents. Hornet Night, a fundraiser for the Parent Teacher Organization, featured a barbecue supper, silent auction and parent-teacher conferences.

Meanwhile, Hilldale Elementary students joined in activities geared to teaching science, math, reading and fitness.

Hilldale Elementary PTO President Cara Whorton said elementary students got a punch card before they left school Thursday. They were encouraged to fill their card with stamps after finishing each activity. Students who return to school Monday with a card full of stamps get a free pass to the Show It Off, LLC, Family Entertainment Center, Whorton said. Students are out of school today.

Lessons and activities included:

• A BINGO game using different coin combinations on the squares.

• A “lava lamp” to show how oil is lighter than water.

• A dice game to teach arithmetic.

• A surface-tension experiment on how much water can fit on a penny.

Kids also got stamps for fitness activities such as scaling the school’s climbing wall.

It didn’t take long for some kids to fill their cards.

“It took me 20 minutes to fill it,” second-grader Ethan Mason said. “Is that the shortest time?”

Ethan said the rock wall was the hardest while dripping water on the penny was easy.

Maddox’s mother, Elizabeth Meza, said her son filled his card in no time.

“He even did extra activities. He did eight of them,” she said. “He just wanted to play.”

Meza said she sees the educational benefit of the activities.

“I think it’s good fun and still educating at the same time,” she said. “That makes it interesting.”

Some visitors even participated in an experiment conducted by Hilldale Middle School seventh-grader Devin Conaway. He had stacks of paper spread across risers in the music classroom and stacks of chewing gum on a piano.

“I give them three test questions to do without chewing gum and three test questions with gum,” Devin said. “I get those and record them. I’m proving that taking a test while chewing gum is better than taking it without gum.”

He said he expected to get at least 100 to 200 participants that night.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.