Project Multiply: A Study of Cancer

Club

Project Multiply will be a mini-exposition displayed in the Liberty Science Center in NJ all day on Saturday, September 17th in the PSE&G courts.

Overview

Cancer is everywhere, but not enough people seem to talk about what it really is. Learning about the science of cancer can make the subject less frightening and more approachable. We hope to educate young Liberty Science Center-goers about the biology behind this often scary sounding term. Why do patients’ hair fall out? Why does cancer happen in the first place? Why is cancer different from everything else? What makes it bad? Our interactive activities are good for kids of all ages!

What will you get to see at this event? First off, watch Elephant Toothpaste shoot straight up into the air to explain metastasis, pop the wacky cells before its too late to show apoptosis, race against the clock to save your patient against the cancer, create your own cell and learn much more along the way.

This event combines the basics of biology, some cool chemistry, and even a little electrical engineering to break down a difficult subject into something far informative, engaging, and fun!

Admission is absolutely free!

And this is organized by the Legwork for Lungs Club at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge, NJ.

This event came to fruition when Ann Kang, a member of the Legwork for Lungs Club, noticed through her volunteering at the Liberty Science Center that there weren’t any current exhibition relating to cancer. Our local organization is always striving to expand outside of our community, and we thought that organizing an event at this center would be a great way to spread our message of cancer education to a new audience.

If you'd like, you can take a look at the plans for the event, described below. 

 

    Thank you in advance for your visit and donations,

        The Legwork for Lungs Team

Activity Guidelines:

The event we have planned focuses on cellular biology, how our bodies protect against cancer, and how cancer works if our bodies fail to regulate healthy cells. This would be a one day event, and it would include 4 mini activities and a demonstration. Throughout the event, there would be trifolds and posters with more in-depth information for the parents and older visitors.
We are able to supply materials, construct all items,  and supply volunteers needed for the event, we would just need guests at the Science Center to be willing to participate.  The event will be all day on Saturday, September 17th.

Interactive activities:

The interactive activities we want to do resemble past activities done in the Liberty Science Center such as the 12 Days of Science event and Duct Tape Mania, meaning we intend to set up an area where kids can participate in small and short activities, which are outlined in detail below.

Make Your Own Microbe

Make Your Own Microbe is an interactive demo where guests can make and decorate their own “microbes” or “cells” out of portions of air-dry clay and materials such as colored beads, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, markers etc.
We hope to teach basic cell biology, what a cell is, what they can look like, why they are important. We can explain to kids that cells have DNA, the substance that tells the cell what to do and how to act. We can also tell kids about the different things different cells can have, such as cilia or flagella for locomotion, and leave the rest of the organelles and interior cell parts up to the kids’ imagination to use beads and stickers and other similar material to create and decorate. Each participant will only get about a strawberry sized piece of clay to mold their microbe out of.

Cell Patrol

Another interactive activity we have planned is “Cell Patrol”, where kids can learn about how our bodies kill old or cancerous cells . This mini activity will use bubble wrap (the large kind, around 1.5 inch diameter per bubble) to exemplify individual cells. Bubble wrap sheets will be put on top of boxes with transparent faces (clear plastic, or anything that will let light shine through). Inside of the box, red colored lights will shine through the top face where the bubble wrap will be lying. The light will highlight individual bubbles to indicate which “cells” are dysfunctional. The kids can then pop the cells that the red light shines on to “kill” the cells with their fingers or unsharpened pencils.
The red lights will be programmed to randomly flash on different bubbles in 5-10 second intervals, then increase in speed as the game progresses. Each guest would have 2 minutes to play the game. We would accomplish this effect by setting up an electrical circuit wired to an Arduino microcomputer that we can program to do the above.

Food for Thought

Food for Thought demonstrates how cancer cells can harm you. Some cancer cells take up nutrients from healthy cells and consume them more rapidly since they divide very quickly. Thus, the body’s healthy cells are weakened and are harmed. To show this to kids, we planned an activity using sponges (the cancerous/healthy cells) and water (the nutrients). Visitors would be divided into 2 teams, with at least one person on each one. One team would represent a cancerous cell, and the other a healthy onel. Each team/person has sponges to soak up water from a common tub then transfer the water to another bucket.
So, each team would be drawing water from the same tub (the same body) but transferring that water to separate buckets. The team with the most water in their bucket after 1 minute wins. If the healthy cell team has the most water in their bucket, then the kids will be told that “The treatment against cancer will have succeeded”. If the cancer cells team wins, then the visitors are told that “Cancer would have overtaken the body”. To prevent this activity from becoming a mess, we would place tarps over the floor or put the buckets in trays to prevent water from getting everywhere.

Kahoot

Kahoot is an online interactive kid-friendly quiz game in which players can take out their technology (cell phones, ipads, computers, etc.) and join to a central server to participate in a trivia quiz. Players would have to connect to the internet and enter a game pin to join, then lock in answers to multiple choice questions that will appear on a main computer. This might be a fun summary activity to quiz guests on their knowledge of cancer. Obviously, the questions won’t be extremely specific or difficult. This is a fun and simple way to engage some technology-oriented visitors, and prizes donated by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center will be given to each winner.

Demonstration

We hope to teach visitors about cancer metastasis through an exciting demonstration. Metastasis occurs when cancer cells multiply in the direction of blood vessels in order to infiltrate the bloodstream and infect other parts of the body, and we hope to show this through a chemical reaction. By combining 20-volume hydrogen peroxide liquid into a 20 oz bottle with dish soap and food coloring and then adding warm water and yeast as catalysts, oxygen bubbles will rapidly multiply (like cancer cells) and overflow over the edge of the bottle. The reaction is demonstrated through the images below. For more information about this experiment, please take a look at this link.