Penn State science programs let kids experience their own "Harry Potter" adventure

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As devoted youngsters flock to the opening of the third installment of the Harry Potter movies, they will also have the opportunity to explore the "science behind the magic" in the state-of-the-art laboratories at Penn State. The first session of Penn StateÂ?s Action Potential Science Experience, "Another WizardÂ?s World: Potions," will take place from June 28-July 2 in the chemistry department of the Eberly College of Science.

— This summer young Harry Potter fans will be able to experience a magical adventure that cannot be found at the local movie theater. As devoted youngsters flock to the opening of the third installment of the Potter movies, they will also have the opportunity to explore the "science behind the magic" in the state-of-the-art laboratories at Penn State. The first session of Penn State’s Action Potential Science Experience, "Another Wizard’s World: Potions," will take place from June 28-July 2 in the chemistry department of the Eberly College of Science.

More than 90 children, aged 9-14, are already enrolled in the first session, which allows Harry Potter fans to experience these stories first-hand. The program is back by popular demand this year after more than 130 young people filled the camp last year. Children will create all kinds of potions—slimy, gooey and fizzy—learn about levitation, and mix their own special elixirs and magical brews.

According to Action Potential Science Experience Director Dr. Rebecca Peterson, the program’s summer offerings are providing a fun learning environment that enables children to learn more about science. "The Harry Potter books are capturing the imaginations of our young people, so we are providing them with a stimulating context for learning about the science behind the magic," she said. Peterson added that children also learn about the history of science in the Action Potential programs—how the introduction of new technologies over the years has turned “impossibilities” into realities.

A new Harry Potter-themed program, "The Adventure of the Apprentice’s Stone," takes place July 12-16, and again from July 26–30. (See: http://www.ScienceCamps.psu.edu)

In the same series, Penn State’s "Mission to Mars" summer program, which immerses participants in the fascinating world of space exploration, will offer future astronauts the opportunity to design their own mission to the Red Planet.

"The Action Potential program has drawn participants from Maine to California, and we hope to serve over 400 students in our six offerings this summer," said Peterson. "We try to develop fun and interactive science experiences based on the topics that pique the interest of young people, whether it’s news about spacecraft landings on Mars or books and movies about a world of young wizards."

For more information or to sign up for any of the Action Potential programs, go to http://www.ScienceCamps.psu.edu or call 800-PSU-TODAY (778-8632).

Editor’s contact:

Dr. Rebecca Peterson, 814-865-4158 OR 814-404-4168, rmp6@psu.edu

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