It was a cold, rainy Wednesday afternoon, but inside the Lion Cub Academy’s indoor playroom, things were quickly heating up – though perhaps “cooling down” would be a better term. The smoke was actually emanating from a container of water and dry ice.
“Are you ready to see a neat science show?” Dr. Michael Garoutte asked, with a resounding cheer coming in response from the children gathered on the floor in front of him.
Members of the chemical and physical science faculty – joined by students from the Physics, Chemistry and Women in Science clubs – offered a series of demonstrations designed to introduce the young children to the wonders of science. More than two dozen kids from the LCA sat in front of lines of tables to participate in the hands-on experiments.
Soap was added to the water and dry ice to create bubbles which trapped the water vapor and carbon dioxide within and release puffs of smoke when popped. Eager hands filled the air when the children were asked which of them wanted to help pop the bubbles formed atop a table.
The kids also used air cannons to knock down stacks of foam cups, suspended ping pong balls in the air using a hair dryer, and created slime using glue, water, Borax and a touch of food coloring. Dr. Jency Sundararajan and Dr. Shayna Burchett used a plastic pool of soapy water and a large plastic ring to form giant bubbles around the children who lined up to step into the middle.
For the grand finale, children were served up small bowls of ice cream made from sugar, cream, vanilla and liquid air – cooled and condensed in a specialized container and poured into the mixture.
“It’s really good to get (the children) involved in science,” said Jen Anderson, a senior physics major and member of the Physics Club who helped with the demonstrations. “I think it’s important for kids to see science in a fun way.”
It’s a program presented each year at the Lion Cub Academy, said director Nikki Tappana.
“It’s a way for our children to get acquainted with the university,” she said. “It’s also an introduction to science concepts. They may not be old enough to understand those concepts, but it helps create a foundation for science discovery.”