The Ottumwa Courier

Education

July 23, 2013

Weird Science

OTTUMWA — Most things seemed normal. Normal classroom. Normal students. Normal teacher. But there was something weird going on.

At their desks Monday, the kids had jumbo plastic bags filled with milk and ice. They kept flipping their bag over. And over and over and over.

More than a dozen elementary-aged students had signed up for an Indian Hills Community College "camp." This one, taught by former science teacher Lori Reeves, was called "Weird Science."

"There's salt in here," said participant Adianna Wasson, explaining how ice cream is made.

Even as she talked about the separate bags, one for ingredients which went inside the one for ice and salt, she continued to churn her ice cream bag.

"Why am I wearing goggles to make ice cream?" asked nearby Dylan Baldwin to no one in particular.

Not everything was as it appeared to be at the camp. Kids showed off the fake snow they'd made earlier. And though the ice cream was cold and wet, the "snow" was warm and dry.

Reeves showed the kids how a corn starch mixture remains a liquid when slowly pressed with a finger, but becomes very solid if suddenly poked. While getting ready for their next experiment, Reeves and her assistant grabbed glue, water, Borax and a highlighter.

"We're going to make liquid slime," she said.

She got out a bowl and two of the markers, which were normal highlighter yellow. Turns out if you draw with a highlighter, the ink will glow intensely under a black light. She pried open both markers, and began pouring out the liquid inside.

"Be sure this is something you never do at home without permission," Reeves told the kids.

In fact, many of the scientific experiments using bags, balloons and Borax came with the admonishment, "Don't try this at home." Kids like Kameron Jones, however, said they were already feeling the urge to share their new findings with family.

"I want to try this at home!" he said.

To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark

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