Third graders, Katie Hugats and Abby Iiams were curious to find out how diapers worked. So they each took a wet diaper and ripped them open, pulling out the sticky substance inside.
“It’s only colored water,” Katie assured, rolling the tiny beads of absorbent material between her fingers.
Once the girls’ curiosity was satisfied, they moved on to observe other scientific principles by shooting small containers up to the ceiling, fueled by the gaseous reaction of mixing water and Alka-Seltzer together. Elsewhere, students learned about plate tectonics by breaking apart Milky Way candies. With movement, explained a parent volunteer, the earth’s crust, mantle and core moves and reacts in a way similar to the chocolate, caramel and nougat when the candy is pulled apart and pushed together. Rather than observing the destructive forces associated with earthquakes, the scientists got to pop the earth-like model in their mouths and enjoy.
The evening of educational fun was all in the name of science, an event funded by the Bristol Warren Education Foundation to pique students’ curiosity in science, using the program present by POW Science.
“Our approach has always been hands on,” said owner of POW Science, Eric Bulmer.
Mr. Bulmer, a former teacher, began the program to take the scientific principles from the book and classroom to everyday uses that students can relate to.
“We have polymer chemistry in making slime, the blasting capsule demonstrates a chemical reaction and the diaper dissection shows absorption,” Mr. Bulmer said.
To the students, the cohesive element was fun.
Friends, Ellery Sparkman, Zoe Mouligne and Tess Dugan held plastic bags with slime inside while they waited for Mr. Bulmer to make something else explode. Zoe explained how they made the slime.
“If you have a big pile of glue, you add water and some color and you get slime,” she said.
While explained a cohesive nature of science, Zoe enjoyed the combustible properties.
“I like the bombs and exploding things,” she said.
Parent volunteer, Michelle Martins, said that the BWEF approached the group offering a grant to promote science. With the $200 grant, the parents group was able to turn a family fun night into a science education night.
“A little bit of scientific thinking goes with everyday things,” Mr. Bulmer said.
To cap off the evening’s event, the parents and students formed a large circle outside in the schoolyard, armed with 2 liter bottles of Diet Coke and rolls of Mentos candies for one last experiment on a chemical reaction with carbonation.
After a countdown, the participants dropped the Mentos into the top of the soda bottles and stepped back while plumes of soda shot seven feet into the air, drawing shrieks of excitement.
Even Mr. Bulmer, who puts on several school programs a year was impressed with the explosive display.
“That was one of the best success rates,” he said of all the bottles shooting up simultaneously.