Fifth-grade students participating in the Hilliard Science Club at Horizon Elementary School will have a chance to show off what they have learned during a Math and Science Family Night beginning at 3:30 p.m. on March 31.

Fifth-grade students participating in the Hilliard Science Club at Horizon Elementary School will have a chance to show off what they have learned during a Math and Science Family Night beginning at 3:30 p.m. on March 31.

Students in the club will set up a table during the family-oriented event and determine whether a change in a property is chemical or physical. They will mix lemonade, baking soda and vinegar, while comparing broken and burnt wood.

"We ask the kids to become empowered," said Karen Brainard, an intervention teacher.

Brainard started the science club about three years ago when she became disillusioned by the lack of participation and results from Science Olympiad.

She was then the egg-drop coach for the district, but she saw a lack of momentum in the event.

With encouragement from then-Principal Mary Rykowski, she said, they decided to change the focus and do things a little differently to encourage an interest in the sciences.

"We looked at the Ohio Standards," said Brainard, "and came up with hands-on types of activities that enrich the standards and look at it from different aspects."

Fifth-grade teacher Brian Pence, fourth-grade teacher Ann Richards and her husband, art teacher Paul Richards, all decided to pitch in to make the science club a success.

Twenty-five fifth-grade students were recruited and began meeting every Wednesday immediately after school.

The number of students seemed to be a good fit for the four teachers, allowing for lots of one-on-one instruction.

It didn't take long before the students were fully immersed in the sciences.

"It is pretty popular," Brainard said of the club. "They harass other students about not coming."

The ultimate goal is to get students to embrace science. "There is nothing you do in life that doesn't involve science and math, whether you think about it or not," said Brainard. "It is an innate learning you take in."

In baseball, she said, the velocity is vital.

"Kids don't think of it that way," she said.

The club makes the members more aware of the life that evolves around them, according to Brainard.

"Kids feel more comfortable with science and do better academically," she said. "They embrace something and they succeed in it."

In addition to gaining academic payoffs, she said, they are also learning life skills.

During family night, the students will also look at the rotation of the earth and determine how shadows develop as a result and share that with future club members, parents and staff.

Brainard hopes to be able to continue it next year.

"I love doing it," she said. "Ultimately the goal as an educator is for kids to be successful in the academic world."