DIXFIELD — Ted “Bitsy” Ionta retired from teaching sixth-grade science in 1991 after 28 years of teaching in Dixfield, Mexico and Rumford.

Five years ago, he emerged from retirement to perform science experiments at libraries in the three towns.

“They asked me to come in and perform some of my science experiments,” Ionta said, “and I figured that this knowledge is something I’ve built up over the years and I might as well use it.”

“Plus,” Ionta added, “I really love science.”

Ionta will perform science experiments at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 9, at Ludden Memorial Library in Dixfield as part of its summer reading program.

Later this month, he will take his show to the Mexico Free Public Library for its Terrific Tuesdays program.


Over the years, Ionta said, he has done many science experiments but he tries to keep things fresh every year.

“I try to throw something new in all the time, which is pretty easy, because there are so many different experiments that I can do,” Ionta said. “The kids like things that are happening. They don’t want to come to hear a lecture. They want to see a show.”

Ionta said he was motivated to teach science after participating in a science class with Robert Bigelow at the Farmington State Teachers College, now the University of Maine at Farmington.

“I just enjoyed his class so much and ended up patenting my teaching after him,” Ionta said.

After five years of performing for children, Ionta said his favorite experiment is the one that he uses to close out every show.

“I take a one-liter plastic bottle and shoot it up in the air about 60, 70, 80 feet, using compressed air,” Ionta said. “It’s noisy, wet, and the kids love it. It’s one of my favorites.”

For more information on Ionta’s performance at Dixfield, call 562-8838.


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