BB&N "Family Knight" Proves Electric at Museum of Science

Sitting inside a metal cage dwarfed by the world's largest Van de Graaff generator, a device capable of creating an electric charge of 1.5-million volts, Middle School Director Mary Dolbear was understandably a tad anxious. But Middle School Science Teacher Kelley Schultheis had asked nicely...

"I was wishing Kelley well, and she asked me if I could just do her a favor," Dolbear says. "Would I help her out and go inside the lightning cage? Now, I don't like lightning, but the next thing I know I'm signing a waiver and following her into the cage!"

Schultheis might have had her own reservations—after all, it's not every day that you coordinate an intentional lightning strike upon your boss. But as a former Boston Museum of Science employee who had run the lightning show many times before, Schultheis knew that she had science on her side. The gambit paid off when a deafening crack of bright blue lightning wowed the watching BB&N families, providing an explosive highlight to a wonderful evening of fun and learning at the first ever BB&N Family Knight at the museum.

The event opened the doors of the esteemed museum to all BB&N community members, allowing a night of free reign in exhibit halls along with admittance to a private lightning show conducted by Schultheis.

Planned and organized by Schultheis and Middle School Math Teacher Gus Means, Family Knight proved to be quite the hit with those who attended. Whether it was laughing Lower Schoolers exploring an air cannon exhibit, or Middle School students sacrificing their carefully coifed hair to demonstrate the properties of static electricity, everyone enjoyed the evening.

"We received a very positive response from families," says Schultheis. "It's the only event I'm aware of that brings BB&N families and faculty together across all campuses for a learning opportunity."

Made possible by a BB&N Urban Connection Grant (an initiative launched last May), the goal of the event was to develop science understanding while also building community, both within the Middle School and between the three campuses. Mission accomplished!

Click here for a photo gallery of the evening.