Arlington kids wowed by ‘Super Cool’ science

ARLINGTON — Sporting a lab coat, goggles and even a bald-headed wig, Amanda Lawrence looked like a scientist.

But soon after the Trafton fifth-grader was outfitted in her gear, she was told to take all of those items off, with one exception — the goggles.

“Do you have to wear a lab coat?” asked Eve Klein of the Pacific Science Center to a group of more than 200 children, parents and volunteers at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club. “You don’t have to wear any of these things to be a scientist. You do want to keep those goggles on though.”

Lawrence was one of a handful of volunteers to take part in Klein’ 45-minute presentation on the various states of matter on Thursday, June 24. The “Super Cool Science Show” was the first in a series of summer programs presented by the Arlington Library.

Because organizers anticipated a large audience, the program was moved to the Boys & Girls Club.

“This is the first time we’ve had the Pacific Science Center involved,” said Lesla Ojeda, children’s librarian at the Arlington Library. “Most of our programs are arts—based, but I’ve always had a science background. We want to emphasize how science and reading are connected.”

Klein’s science show began with her asking the audience what science was. One boy yelled “everything,” while another took that response one step further by adding that science was “the study of anything.”

A third audience member said that science was “trying to figure out something about chemicals.”

Those three answers were all correct, Klein said.

After a brief explanation of what science was — many of the children at the program were as young as 4 or 5 — Klein started her experiments.

She poured a liquid into a beaker, which resulted in mist and fog emanating from the top of the glass container.

Klein then asked the students whether they thought the liquid was hot or cold.

“There’s a really easy way to determine that,” she said, dropping a plastic glove into the concoction.

As Klein reached back in using a pair of tongs, small pieces of wrinkled plastic were all that came out.

“This is almost twice as cold as dry ice,” she said. “I think we should put some more stuff in it.”

Next, Klein called on two volunteers to help out in a Pluto vs. Earth competition.

The idea was to demonstrate what would happen to a rubber bouncy ball on Pluto — an icy planet whose climate is as cold as the temperature of liquid nitrogen — compared to a bouncy ball in a regular Earth climate.

While the two volunteers’ balls bounced high into the air, Klein’s ball made a solid “clank” as it hit the Boys & Girls Club gymnasium floor.

The second part of the competition required the two elementary school aged children to break their bouncy balls on a rock. While the two young scientists were unable to do so, Klein’s ball smashed through the rock and exploded into 10 pieces.

“What we just saw was a solid becoming brittle,” she said.

Klein then dropped graham crackers and other items into what was actually liquid nitrogen. The children laughed as the Pacific Science Center staff member ate the crackers, and exhaled smoke from her mouth from the frozen food.

Finally, Klein made the children take the center’s oath to learn about the world around them, but only with adult supervision.

Arlington youngsters were not the only members of the audience — Boys & Girls Clubs from Everett and Alderwood were in attendance for the science center program.

“It’s nice to have a free, hands—on community event,” Ojeda said.

Klein said after the program that she began her love of science as a child watching similar styles of presentations.

“Getting to see this type of thing really got me into science as a kid,” she said. “People ask us if we’re tired at the end of the day (after doing multiple programs). We don’t get tired — it’s really invigorating being around these kids.”

For a list of other programs coming up at the Arlington Library, visit www.sno— or call 360—435—3033. The library is located at 135 N. Washington Ave.

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