History of Science on Ice

In the months before December 2008 Pete Robichaud and Paul Allan developed the first ideas, which eventually resulted in the Science on Ice program. Pete, a USDA Forest Service research engineer and longtime skater and hockey player, suggested that the Moscow ice rink should be useful for much more than just recreation and sport.

In the conversation that followed, Pete and Paul, a science educator, talked about the characteristics of an ice rink that might be connected to activities other than ice skating. They concluded that the low friction properties of ice as well as the unique physics and chemistry of water were good possibilities. Because hockey pucks of different mass were readily available they decided that it would be possible to develop an experiment with these pucks to illustrate Newton's laws of motion. Discussions with other science educators soon resulted in the beginnings of a program to help young people learn some physics and chemistry and the basics of the scientific method by doing several experiments.

December 2008 the group was ready for the first trial of the Science on Ice program. They talked to Mr. Markley and Mrs. Charles, the PE instructor and teacher for the Russell Elementary fifth grade class to see if they would like to have their class as the trial audience. They and their class were interested and eager and soon after came the successful first presentation. Since then, Pete and Paul have carefully collected comments and feedback from students, teachers and Science on Ice volunteers, in order to be able to make additions and improvements to the content and presentation. The program has expanded to about 14 sessions for 5th and 6th grade field trips for each season, October to March.