Walking on eggs and other mad scientist challenges
June 30, 2012 at 1:30 a.m.
BE A MAD SCIENTIST
There, you can learn how to test the acidity of foods, build a bridge out of straws, make raisins dance in water and more.
They probably looked mad to unknowing passersby. They were, after all, walking on eggs.
But this feat was just one of the many elementary students undertook as mad scientists during the Mad Scientists Challenge summer camp, hosted by the Victoria school district.
"I thought they were just going to pshew!" Juliet Ragnow, 9, said, throwing her arms in the air to mimic a cracking egg.
Isaac Talley had just darted across four cartons of eggs, his heel barely cracking one at the end of the journey.
"I didn't think they were going to be that strong," Isaac said.
Earlier, the students had offered predictions as to what would happen when they waddled across the eggs. Their hypotheses were part of the scientific method, which they'd learned on the first day of the weeklong camp.
In the classroom, they bounced ideas off each other about whether an egg would float and if a boiled egg would spin faster than a raw one. Their teacher, Denise Andruss, had tried to crack an egg by squeezing it. Students jolted back in their seats, expecting to be sprayed.
Andruss was unsuccessful, she explained, because she was applying equal pressure to both sides of the spherical egg.
Madison Mitchell, 9, had never seen anything like it.
"In the morning, I help my dad make eggs, and we crack them," she said. "I didn't know eggs were really hard that even an adult couldn't break them."
Earlier in the week, students learned about motion and speed by designing experiments with Hot Wheels. They tested their theories of aerodynamics, certain wheel types and ramp altitudes.
"We tried to leave a lot of it open-ended, so they could use their creativity and own ideas," Andruss said. "For their age group, they actually have come up with some good ideas and higher-level thinking."
Throughout the rest of the camp, they'd make solar cookers out of pizza boxes to see how colors affect the absorption of energy. They'd also learn more about force by testing paper airplanes and exploding soda bottles by dropping Mentos in them.
Andruss, who teaches aquatic science at Victoria West High School, said she hopes the young mad scientists will discover a love of science that they'll keep with them throughout their education.
"I would hope they would leave and know you can have fun and learn at the same time," she said.