Science camps’ chemical reactions a hit for the kids

PASO ROBLES — Twenty-two kids ages 6 to 11 goggled up at Centennial Park to take part in the week-long science camp Pop! Burst! Blast! Bang & Sizzle! Instructor Tim Baker, of Science Dipity, led the students on an exploration of chemical and physical reactions, thermodynamics, energy, pressure, forces and Newton’s laws of physics.
There was at least one explosion a day as the students learned fundamentals of chemistry while literally having a blast.
“This is the essence of hands-on, resource-rich, science education,” said Baker, who has been offering science enrichment in Paso Robles through Recreation Services for the past eight years.
On Monday, students mixed cornstarch with water and talked about how neither substance is chemically changed when combined. Together they make a wonderful mixture nicknamed, oobleck. Next students watched as dry cornstarch was mixed with oxygen and ignited. The cornstarch was chemically changed into new chemicals — while releasing a lot of heat and light energy.
Tuesday was ice day featuring many dry ice experiments and a lot of excitement. Students captured the gas in a variety of containers including airtight bags, a balloon, water and soapy water, a metal paint can, and film canisters and observed the results.


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