1. The Education Gradebook

Once each year, Chocachatti teacher transforms to perform science magic

BROOKSVILLE — Most of the time, Ruth Markham is a Chocachatti Elementary School science resource teacher. Once a year, she morphs into Professor Marshmallow and wows the school's population with science magic.

This year's focus was on electricity, and Markham, using audience participation in several cases, illustrated complete circuits, conductors, insulators and sound vibration through matter. She included safety lessons.

"When I do this, the concept really becomes real to them," Markham said. "That's why I do this. They can see it visually."

Markham has put hundreds of hours into creating six different science shows that she rotates. As students move though the school from kindergarten to fifth grade, they don't see a repeat, she explained.

For the electricity show, Markham used color and lights and enthusiasm to engage her audience. She danced to the song It's Electric. She pumped the students up by having them shout "Science electrifies me!"

Second-grader Kannin Fleming, 8, was impressed with the flash of electricity Markham produced between two objects.

"It was kind of fun to see the lightning and (hear the) sound," Kannin said.

Fifth-grader Micayla McLares, 10, was also impressed with that part of the show.

"It was cool how she had the metal ball, and the stick went near it, and I saw a spark," Micayla said.

Third-grader Ashley Ware, 9, shared what she learned from the presentation: "That a lightning bolt is a lot of watts. That we can transfer light through a circuit."

Third-grader Zachary Touati, 9, said he learned "that when you put two metal sources together, they make sparks or light electricity."

Fifth-grader Adelle Starkey, 10, liked the part when Markham had students and School Board member Matthew Foreman complete a circuit.

"My favorite part was (Foreman) and students as the conductors," Adelle said.