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Great State: Scientist Parents Bring Home Experiments for the Whole School

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA – Let’s start with a recipe for something called a ‘bag bomb”.

Take a little baking soda, some vinegar, and cotton batting.

Pour them together, then seal them in a ziplock bag.

Within seconds the bag opens with a pop.

Want to know how to make instant soap bubbles?

Take dish soap and add hydrogen peroxide.

Mix it with a catalyst like yeast and you’ll get lots of bubbles in the form of an exothermic reaction.

Welcome to Science Night at Wilson Elementary.

It’s a renewal of an old tradition at the school brought back by two scientists themselves, Tim and Courtney Griffin.

Both work at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.

“We have twin girls in the 5th grade,” they tell us.

The Griffins thought it might be interesting to bring a little of their work to school and, hopefully, back to students’ homes as well.

Tim Griffin explains, “What’s different is we’re sending each student home with little question packets where they can repeat these experiments and change the conditions.”

Tim and Courtney designed simple displays and recruited fellow scientists from the OMRF to demonstrate.

Throw in a few college science majors and some smart high school students and the kids here were quickly learning to make messes in ever room of the school.

“We make a fun mess!” exclaimed one boy in a Cub Scout uniform.

“It’s awsomely cool,” said another girl standing with her friends.

“It’s science!” said a boy in the middle of an experiment.

When was the last time you heard this kind of enthusiasm in a science class?

Wilson may be classified as an ‘arts integration’ school but administrators like principle Kirk Wilson are anxious to work in other learning ingredients too.

“The latest trend,” he explains, “is S.T.E.A.M. Education which incorporates science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. And we are very much moving toward that model here at Wilson.”

For Science Night, the kids lined up to make instant ice cubes and hold frozen bubbles of condensing dry ice.

“You can feel the bubbles,” says one girl wearing a protective glove.

If there’s a shortage of scientists out there, the answer to that problem might just be in here.

“We do fun experiments!” says the Cub Scout.