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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Naperville students to appear on David Letterman May 20

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Wikimedia Commons Photo
Wikimedia Commons Photo

With David Letterman retiring, is this the last appearance by Naperville District 203 students?

For the 17th year and quite possibly the last time, Naperville School District 203 students will travel to New York City to appear on the Late Show with David Letterman.

With Letterman retiring and a new host of The Late Show set, District 203 teachers don’t know if they will be sought again to bring the young scientists to the show. The show will be taped and aired May 20. It will be the 17th year and 23rd time Naperville District 203 students will appear on the show.

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Five students are practicing the science experiments and will travel to New York City for the taping. Three will be selected during rehearsal to perform the experiments and be the straight man to Letterman’s antics.

The students are:

  • Samantha Xu (10th grader at Naperville Central High School)
  • Jakob Myers (9th grader at Naperville North High School)
  • Jay Bhatia (8th grader at Jefferson Junior High School)
  • Maddy Whirledge (7th grader at Kennedy Junior High School)
  • Emma Bednar (6th grader at Kennedy Junior High School)

Lee Marek, retired chemistry teacher at Naperville North High School, and Jaci Gentile, Naperville Central science teacher and Katherine Seguino, Naperville Central High School science department chair, will accompany the students.

Here is a list of experiments proposed. Only three will be chosen to be conducted on the show:

Beating Gravity:  This demonstration is based on the center of percussion.  It uses a device that drops a golf ball into a cup both traveling together.

Ethanol Rocket:  This demonstration is based on Newton’s Third Law.  A 5-gallon water bottle is mounted to a cart.  The burning of ethanol propels the bottle across the stage.

Cold Cents:  This demonstration shows the changes in physical properties as a substance is cooled using liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees C.

Water Cup Swirl:  This demonstration is based on Newton’s First Law of Inertia. Basically, a cup filled with water is swirled on a platform both horizontally and in a circle vertically without spilling.

Genie in the Bottle (decomposition of hydrogen peroxide):  This demonstration represents the use of a catalyst on the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide.

Jumping Ring:  This experiment demonstrates Lenz’s Law.  An electromagnet source and a metal ring will be used to launch the metal ring into the air.  After cooling the ring with liquid nitrogen, we will demonstrate the changes in the force of repulsion.

T-shirt Shooter:  This demonstration uses a combustion reaction to propel T-shirts with the Late Show logo into the audience.  Acetylene gas will be produced inside a PVC tube.  The force of the “explosion” will shoot T-shirts from the pipe.

Light Saber:  This demonstration uses the property of conductivity to light a fluorescent tube.  One person will hold on to a Tesla coil.  We will make a chain of students.  The second to last student will be holding on to a fluorescent tube.  The last student will also be holding on to the tube.  The electricity from the Tesla coil will be transferred through the students to light the bulb.

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Naperville Community Unit School District 203
Naperville Community Unit School District 203http://www.naperville203.org
Naperville Community Unit School District 203 is a nationally recognized pre-K-12 school district of 17,500 students in two high schools, five junior highs, 14 elementary schools, and one early childhood center. The educational program of the Naperville 203 school district is designed to provide excellence for all students, and founded in the mission of educating students to be self-directed learners, collaborative workers, complex thinkers, quality producers, and community contributors.

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