Patrick and David Robbins of Davidson tugged and tussled with a bright yellow pair of rubber gloves as they put on protective clothing at the McGuire Nuclear Station's EnergyExplorium.
Tim Knott, 12, had his father, Ray Knott of Mooresville, help him remove an equally electric-yellow pair of matching rubber shoes.
The gloves and shoes were accessories to the white plastic/paper coveralls and hood worn in radiological areas at McGuire Nuclear Station in Huntersville.
McGuire Nuclear Station sponsored a special day Jan. 28 for homeschoolers, in honor of National Nuclear Science Week.
More than 100 home-schooled children, parents and friends attended.
After trying out the Geiger counters, families had time to investigate the EnergyExplorium, try on radiation-worker protective clothing and test their nuclear knowledge at the Twenty Questions Station. The morning closed with the movie "Nuclear Energy for Today and Tomorrow."
McGuire's Women in Nuclear group sponsored the Twenty Questions Station. Charlotte Swann and Pamela Cadenhead, both engineers with McGuire, coached the young contestants and their parents.
"What percentage of N.C. electricity is produced by nuclear energy?" stated one of the questions. The answer is 30 percent.
A small crowd surrounded Celeste Ceva, a radiation protection specialist, as she assisted her crew with the correct way to put on protective clothing - a tricky endeavor.
"We focus on making sure that workers are safe from radiation and contamination. We are kind of like radiation babysitters," said Ceva, placing a tool in the hands of a fully suited youngster.
"Now you get to operate the wrench while you have those gloves on." No easy feat.
Parents took pictures of their children in their protective outfits. "You need the finishing touch," said Ceva as she added a hood for a photo.
Joan and John Robbins brought their triplets, Patrick, David and Peter, 12.
Marion Macy of Mooresville brought her son, Liam, 13.
Both families are members of LIFE at Lake Norman home-school group.
"Two of our boys are very much into science," said Joan Robbins. "This is a family outing, our field trip."
When asked what was most interesting about their field trip, the boys were quiet just long enough for their parents to chime in. The parents excitedly recapped some of their favorite moments, which included examples of radiation in our daily lives and history.
To demonstrate the use of Geiger counters, pre-World War II Fiestaware glazed with uranium, clock dials from the 1920s painted with radioactive glow-in-the-dark paint, smoke detectors and Vaseline glass were used as examples.
The use of Fiestaware glaze was stopped during WWII so the uranium could be used for the war effort.
The numbers on 1920s clock dials had at one time been painted with a radioactive glow-in-the-dark paint. The women who did the painting were getting sick, and many developed mouth tumors. It was discovered the women brought their paintbrushes to a point by putting the tips in their mouths.
"Radiation is part of our daily lives," said McGuire spokeswoman Hailey Wilson as she explained the basics of nuclear power, radiation, history and safety. "We've come a long way."