Learn All about Science in Reeko's Lab

By Szadkowski, Joe | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 31, 1999 | Go to article overview

Learn All about Science in Reeko's Lab


Szadkowski, Joe, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Everyone has a bit of the mad scientist in them. Who hasn't tried to suck an egg into a bottle or mixed vinegar with baking soda just to giggle at the bubbly, "volcanic" explosion?

In honor of my favorite holiday and discipline, I am pulling out the decrepit lab coat, putting on the white fright wig and stopping by the laboratory of Reeko - a place Dr. Frankenstein visits frequently and any child fascinated with science will love.

REEKO'S MAD SCIENTIST LAB

SITE ADDRESS: www.flash.net/~spartech/ReekoScience/ReekoIndex.htm

CREATOR: Creator, owner and Web master of Reeko's Mad Scientist Lab, Brian Fletcher Haddock resides in Burleson, Texas. A computer programmer by day, he runs a software/Web development company - SparTech Software - in his spare time.

CREATOR QUOTABLE: "I designed Reeko's Mad Scientist Lab to facilitate kids' interest in science and education in general," Mr. Haddock says.

"We can drill facts, numbers, techniques, etc., into our children and stand back and marvel at the intelligence we've instilled in their little heads. Or, we can follow a much easier method - we can make them want to learn."

WORD FROM THE WEBWISE: Bill Nye the Science Guy may have the corporate backing, a slick Web site and popular television show, but Mr. Haddock has put together a much less complicated and more engaging Internet presence filled with a variety of educational experiments and guaranteed laughs.

The opening page streams down the screen and quickly compels children to learn. Images of a dinosaur skeleton, the planet Saturn and a single-celled organism immediately pop up. A click on each reveals concise and easy-to-understand definitions. This type of activity is the key to the Reeko site. The crazy scientist hides surprises all over the place to give children the opportunity to discover.

As you scroll down the front page, a sampling of experiments is found on the right side, including using clay to understand floatation principles and making water travel uphill using tape, a knitting needle and plastic wrap. The left side of the page concisely outlines the innards of the site, including the main sections: In the Lab, Resources, Talk Back, Fun Stuff and Experiments.

A good place to start is Experiments, which offers almost 40 "away from the computer" projects to help develop a taste for science. Divided by category or skill level, the experiments range from chemistry to sound and from easy to advanced.

For example, in the Pressure and Compression area, intermediate-level scientists can make clouds in a bottle using a clear jar, rubber glove and a match.

The instructions are very simple, Reeko explains all the principles involved and adds parent's notes that go into greater detail to keep Mom and Dad interested. Additionally, Reeko loves defining words. In this experiment, the word "molecule" is highlighted in red.

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