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Quirky Educator Blasts Onto The TV Science Scene

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Ann Thompson
/
WVXU
Kevin Cornell's "Full Steam Ahead" begins airing this fall on CET and ThinkTV.

Dayton educator Kevin Cornell ("Mr. C") is bringing his lighthearted science lessons to public television this fall. The one-minute segments called "Full STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) Ahead" air between kids shows and tease experiments that are later explained in full on a website.

"Full STEAM Ahead" is not Mr. C's first foray into video. He created a YouTube channel to make slime, Pringle rockets, a soda fountain geyser and more.

Mr. C is banking on kids' curiosity. "Someone's going to see that and they're going to say, 'I want to build that.' And if I get one kid that says that to their parents, it's a success," he says.

He says sometimes it's hard to learn science because you have to retrain your brain. "And when you can have that and see the light bulb go off in their heads or sometimes on the table if they're doing circuits, that's a powerful moment when you watch that unfold."

Cornell likes music just as much as science. Sometimes he combines the two. He had his fifth graders apply science concepts to the tune of  "Frosty the Snowman" and other holiday songs.

We built an ecosystem with a teeny tiny fish in a clear glass tank and a bunch of rocks that were going swish swish swish. We build an ecosystem. We put a plant in it. It had to do a special job, photosynthesis.

Ohio's 2016 PBS Digital Innovator is now also writing songs tackling social problems like bullying.

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Mr. C wrote "No Bully Zone" with the hope that schools will adopt it into their curriculum.

Ann Thompson has years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology