Students get excited about science at Barrington's St. Anne school

  • St Anne School fourth-grader Sofia Zitella takes a ride on a hovercraft.

    St Anne School fourth-grader Sofia Zitella takes a ride on a hovercraft. Courtesy of St. Anne School

Submitted by Kelly Daugherty
Updated 12/2/2011 12:45 PM

It was a Monday morning that started off differently for the preschool through eighth-grade students of St. Anne Catholic School in Barrington. Instead of going about their daily classroom routine, the students were treated to a live, interactive science show in the school gymnasium.

This was not your ordinary science show, but a modern day, high-energy, fast-paced, show that the students could understand and enjoy. Magician and engineer, Steve Belliveau's "Getting Excited About Science" uses large props, dramatic presentation, humor, music and audience participation, to simplify scientific concepts about friction, physics, sound, air/water pressure, chemistry, magnetism, electricity and conservation of energy.


"The show was very educational and informative in a super fun way. It was learning hands-on science and not from a book. A different way to look or think about science, which made it fun," said middle school sixth-grade student Meghan Fleming.

Several St. Anne students were able to be a part of the show, including fourth-grader Sofia Zitella, who was able to help demonstrate the laws of physics as she rode across the gymnasium floor on Belliveau's self-made hovercraft, which was powered by a leaf blower.

"Flying across the gym floor was great, and I would do it again," said Zitella.

"My show, 'Getting Excited About Science,' is designed to engage students on many different levels. It is big, visual, funny, and concepts flow from one demonstration to the next smoothly. I ask students many different questions during the show and challenge them to come up with accurate answers and not just the easy answers. The concepts change based on the grade levels of the students watching," said Belliveau.

Some students involved in the show risked getting wet as they helped demonstrate centrifugal force by having a container of water loosely attached to a rope swung above their heads. Another student helped demonstrate the large amount of physical energy it takes to light up an everyday 15 watt appliance light bulb using a hand crank, thereby reinforcing the importance of energy conservation. In other words, turn off the lights when you leave the room.

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Steve Belliveau was invited to St. Anne by the Home & School cultural arts committee, and paid for by money earned through various school fundraising activities.

"The children learned some wonderful lessons about science while having fun engaging in some of the hands on experiments," said cultural arts committee co-chair and fifth-grade parent, Lisa Sadowski.

"At the end of the show I want students, teachers and staff to think that it was one of the best school assemblies they have ever seen. I also hope that I am reinforcing scientific concepts and perhaps encouraging students to take more science classes when they get older," said Belliveau.

"I loved it and it made me want to learn more about science," said fifth-grade student Dean Lambertsen.

More information about Steve Belliveau and Getting Excited About Science can be found at

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