Atomic Adventures Summer Camp!
With this wild and crazy summer camp program, we brought the world of science to these excited kids with hands-on activities and active participation! Kids ran around pretending to be atoms and molecules as they acted out phases of matter! We played Red Rover to explore how effective the flexible chains of molecules can be at making plastics, glues, and DNA! They bounced around as they demonstrated the fast-moving electrons creating electrical charges of static electricity! They made messes with slime, explored color changing chemistry with acids and bases, experimented with the sweet science of strawberry DNA extractions, and the forensic science of chromatography! Kids fell in love with science as they explored the wonderful world of chemistry!
Color Changing Chemistry on Arizona Midday!
Katie and I appear regularly on NBC Channel 12’s Arizona Midday, and in this segment, we brought the color changing chemistry of pH indicators on set! We used chemistry to change our purple indicator solution to a brilliant red, a soft lavender, a bright green, a dark purple, and an ocean blue! We finished our set with a dazzling demonstration where we used the chemistry of indicators to turn a white carnation to a beautiful pink flower for the host!
Easter Egg Science!
For this workshop, we explored the science of Easter with Easter Egg activities! We used air pressure to suck an egg into a bottle by lighting a match in a jar, using up the oxygen inside, and pushing eggs through the jars with the resulting air pressure outside! We also explored density by dissolving egg shells with vinegar, altering the density of water with sugar and salt water solutions, and finished our day off with egg races! Kids were challenged to put their engineering skills to the test by building fortified spoon carriers and racing across the library! The kids won their challenges by not dropping their (hard-boiled) eggs as they ran across the floor!
Earth Day Under Pressure!
Here, kids learned all about the science of the Earth’s Atmosphere, as we talked about the thousands of pounds pressing down on us from all sides! We demonstrated the pressing power of air by crushing cans with the power of air pressure, and making water rise in a jar, by burning the air inside and using up the available oxygen! By creating vacuums the kids were able to see how the air could compress everyday objects a loud BOOM!
Harry Potter Summer Camp Extravaganza!
As the Burton Barr library finished off their final week of Wizarding Camp, they transformed the 4th floor’s MACH1 space into Hogwarts for the children of Phoenix! Kids shopped at Ollivander’s where their wands were carefully chosen, then stopped by Honeydukes to pick out their favorite wizarding candy confections! They were sorted into their houses by the Sorting Hat, and then it was off to class! They took Divination, Transfiguration, and of course, Potions class, with yours truly as the Potions Master! Dry ice became screaming powdered mandrake root, color changing acids and base indicators became Polyjuice Potion, and they created bubbling cauldrons of potion explosions with baking soda (powdered troll skull) and vinegar (veritaserum), glitter (powdered unicorn horn), sprinkles (spider eggs), non-toxic cleaner (snake venom), and a variety of herbs and powders!
Phoenix’s Bat Tunnel Extravaganza!
For this event, I partnered up with my good friend, Eric Proctor, the educational director of Arizona’s Game and Fish Department, to host a Bat Tunnel Extravaganza in downtown Phoenix! We gave a talk about the bats of Arizona, the differences between fruit-eating Megabats and insect-eating Microbats, as well as how they hunt using sonar echolocation to build a 3D image in their brain of the insects around them. Eric brought live bats, as well as bat skeletons, and we navigated through the crowd with sonar listening devices so we could hear the bats send out their little chirps as they bounced sound waves around their environment! The evening culminated in a brilliantly batty display as the bats took off for their nightly hunt against the Arizona sunset.
Halloween Spooky Spectacular!
For this event, the amazing staff of the Burton Barr library turned the entire 4th floor of the Burton Barr Library into a Halloween Science Extravaganza! With exploding pumpkins, relay races, and slime stations, we had sticky gooey Halloween science for the kids in the city of Phoenix! They made glitter slime, learned about Non-Newtonian fluids, and experimented with density and acids and bases with baking soda, vinegar, and dissolving eggs!
The Science of Superheroes!
I joined the ranks of some of the most beloved superheroes as we brought the science behind superheroes to the kids at Burton Barr! We had live tarantulas, electricity and magnetism, gravity, and of course, the science of bats! The kids had a blast dressing up as their favorite superheroes, making their own masks, and participating in science demonstrations as they learned about the science behind their favorite superheroes!
Strawberry DNA Extraction Lab!
I took the sweet science of strawberry DNA extraction to the kids at the Burton Barr Library! Here, kids learned all about how cells, the building blocks of life, all work together to build everything from trees and flowers, to animals like ourselves! How do these cells know what to build? Well, the answer lies in the instruction manual of DNA! DNA is locked up tightly within the nucleus of the cell, but with some common kitchen materials, we can unlock the DNA, break down the proteins that hold them in place, and see if for ourselves! Kids donned their own lab coats, safety goggles, and gloves, and participated in their own strawberry DNA extractions! Then, they took pieces of strawberry DNA over to the crafting stations, where they created their own keepsake necklaces and bracelets, that they could wear while showing off their strawberry DNA!
Mentos and Diet Coke Rocket Race Engineering Challenge!
We took Mentos and Diet Coke to the next level when we held a rocket race engineering challenge for the kids at the Burton Barr Library! Over the course of 4 weeks, kids designed and tested their own rocket cars, using cardboard, electronics, spare parts, and of course, mentos and diet coke! After designing and testing their vehicles, it was time to put them to the ultimate test – with their very own rocket car racing day! 30 kids tested their rocket cars, winning in categories such as longest distance, fastest time, and vehicles which traveled in the straightest line! Everyone received medals of participation, and the winners received their very own 3D printed trophies!
The Sticky Science Of Polymers at the Chandler Night of Art and Science!
Katie and I brought the sticky science of polymers to our very first public demonstration! We joined hundreds of exhibitors at the beautiful Night Of Art and Science in Chandler, Arizona, as a part of the Arizona SciTech Festival! We introduced kids and parents to the exciting science of Non-Newtonian Fluids with Oobleck, and polymers with starch slime and Borax slime! Kids participated in hands-on experiments, and got to take home their very own bags of slime as souvenirs!
2013 Field Trip To the Phoenix Bat Tunnel!
My daughter and I brought our love of bats to the city of Phoenix! When we realized we had a colony of Mexican Free-Tailed Bats roosting right in the downtown overflow tunnels, we just had to share the discovery with other kids in our community! Soon, we were learning all we could about the bats, and then we shared our newfound knowledge of our furry friends with the kids of Phoenix! After a lesson in flight, echolocation, and hunting habits of different kinds of bats, it was time to watch our nocturnal flying friends take off for a night of hunting! It was a field trip these kids would never forget, as they delighted in watching the bats dart around as they hunted for food!