Science teachers in the valley sat on the other side of the classroom Wednesday.
The Chemistry Demonstration Workshop at James Madison University hosted dozens of high school and middle school science teachers from central Virginia. There were several from Augusta County, learning and sharing ideas on how to liven up the classroom.
The workshop started with an entertaining performance from the keynote speaker James P. Wightman, who is a retired professor from Virginia Tech. Wightman lit a fire and then extinguished it - with his own earwax. Then the educators put to the test a series of experiments that illustrated both simple and complex concepts.
"I love a lot of hands-on demonstrations, so this is a great opportunity. It's a free workshop, and you learn a lot," said Yvonne Coffey, a physical science teacher at Wilson Middle School in Augusta County.
Leading the event was Kevin Caran, a chemistry and biochemistry professor at JMU. He says the goal of the day was to create a community of science demonstrators.
"Even students who don't become scientists, they are going to remember some of these things more than they'll remember the equation that was put up on the board," Caran said.
After the experiments, the teachers gathered to discuss future lesson plans.
This is the fourth year of the workshop. Teachers and organizers hope to bring what's learned today to classrooms all over the commonwealth.