Volunteer opportunity: Science Night at Bennett Woods Elementary, 2023

I’m looking for some people to help me with this year’s Science Night at Bennett Woods Elementary in Okemos on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023. This is an event we’ve done for several years, and is really fun.

We run the “take apart clinic”, where we set up a table with old junk, like appliances, radios, computers, etc., and let the kids take them apart and turn them into bits. The kids, who are in 4th and 5th grade, love it. We supply the tools and safety glasses, and some of the junk, and keep things from getting too rowdy. The school supplies the majority of the junk, which is often a lot of old computers from MSU Surplus.

I need a couple of helpers who are good with kids, or at least not bad with kids, to set out the tools, keep the kids in safety glasses, and rotate out the old junk with fresh junk over the course of the evening. The hardest part is collecting the safety glasses as kids leave the table.

It’s a nice outreach event for us. In the past we’ve gotten some visits from parents after the event. We’ll have our signage and some brochures for interested parents, but it’s primarily about the kids, of course.

The time commitment is about three hours. We can set up from 5:30pm to 6:30, the event runs from 6:30 to 8:00, and then there’s a half hour of cleanup afterwards.

And of course there is a refreshment trolley that makes the rounds a few times with snacks and drinks for the exhibitors. As if you had to ask.


I should be free then, barring an early delivery! i.e. I’d love to help out, but shouldn’t be the only one counted on for the event.

As an aside, if any of the old machines happen to be ibm branded thinkpads… can someone try to keep the break-down non destructive. I haven’t been able to make it to the surplus store lately as i work on their only open day

p.s. i assume things like crts are out. what about old mobile phones (maybe with the screen removed to avoid glass bits)? those look pretty cool inside

I’m available to help out!

I’d like to volunteer as well.

Count me in! I’ll ask around for junk to take apart as well.

I’d love to help! I’m also asking around for stuff to take apart

Hi all volunteers,
The event is scheduled for this Thursday evening, 5:30-8:30 (that includes setup and cleanup). But given the events and the resulting school closings, I just sent a note to the organizer to see if it’s still going ahead as scheduled.
I’ll let you know what I hear.


They’re holding the event as planned on Thursday night. To recap:

Location: 2650 Bennett Rd, Okemos, MI 48864
Bennett Woods Elementary School on Google Maps

5:30 - 6:30: Set-up time
6:30 - 8:00: Science Night
8:00 - 8:30: Clean up

It’s not necessary for everyone to get there at 5:30, but please be there by 6:15.

I’ve got the tools and safety glasses, and the junk. We should make sure to have some signage and some brochures for interested parents. It’s not primarily a marketing event, but we can have materials to give out.

If you’re still planning on being there, please reply here so I’ll know to expect you.

Thanks for the help!

Will see you there!
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A heads-up: Weather is forecast to dump a few inches of snow right around our scheduled timeframe. I’m planning on going and will try to get there a bit earlier to help get setup.

I don’t think I’m going to be able to make it to the event tonight. I’m sorry to miss it and I hope it goes well despite my absence!

I’m all loaded up at the shop, and I’ll get out there at 5:30.

When you get there, you can check in with Michelle or another organizer. We’ll be in the library.

I had a lovely time at this event. The organizers said that about 600 kids showed up to the entire event and I would guess that we saw 100 of them. Several kids told me that “this is the best thing here!” Watching the kids problem solve while just demolishing a mountain of electronics is something that will stick with me for a while.

My favorite was one 8 year old girl holding alfot the fan that she’d just ripped out in one hand, screw driver in the other, yelling “Is this science!?” I love her. Several parents told me that they wished they had been allowed to do something like this when they were young.

I handed out some flyers to parents that asked questions, perhaps we’ll get a membership out of it.
Thanks for the invitation and the lovely event. I hope that we get to do more of these in the future.


My thanks to Lex, Evelyn, and Lou for making it run so well. A Haslett school principal was at the event, and now wants to run this at her school’s Science Night, too, so next year we may have two of these.