PAOLA — The school year is less than two weeks old, but student curiosity is already being cultivated at Sunflower Elementary.

A colorful interactive learning trailer called the Curiosity Cube was set up in the parking lot of the elementary school Wednesday, Aug. 21, and Thursday, Aug. 22, giving students a unique opportunity for some hands-on learning.

The traveling trailer is owned by MilliporeSigma, a global supplier of resources for the life science industry. The business has a location in Lenexa, where Sunflower fifth-grader Jackson Bollinger’s mother, Jen, works.

Jen was able to help set up the Curiosity Cube visit, and a few MilliporeSigma volunteers also were on site at Sunflower to lead students through a variety of interactive activities.

Natalie Randolph, Curiosity Cube coordinator, said the cube has a different theme every year, and this year’s focus is the periodic table of elements in honor of the table’s 150th anniversary.

Inside the cube, students participated in a variety of activities involving elements, including elements in the body, elements in water and elements used in technology such as cell phones.

Sunflower Principal Staci Wokutch said fifth-grade classes took turns visiting the Curiosity Cube on Wednesday, and fourth-graders took their turn Thursday.

Fourth-grader Landon Murdock and his classmates had a blast trying on virtual reality goggles that allowed them to see a human skeleton and parts of the body.

Gaysha Batten with MilliporeSigma talked to the students throughout the process and quizzed them on information, such as the fact that there are 206 bones in the human body.

At another station, students practiced putting together their own technological pieces and learned that the parts of a cell phone are made up of elements such as gold and oxygen.

At a neighboring station, students used pH test strips to test different water samples.

Randolph said this is the third year for the Curiosity Cube program, and it travels across the country to schools, festivals and other events.

Editor and Publisher Brian McCauley can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or

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