Kids get colorful lessons at Imagine That science camp – The Vacaville Reporter


While having fun during the summer, it is important that children do not let their minds wander.

This won’t be a problem for those who signed up for Imagine That’s “Boom! Bang! Splat!” camp. These kids are taking chemistry and physics lessons in a fun way: the kind that allows tables to get a little messy as they learn about compounds, propulsion, and color-changing solutions.

Mollie Napier, camp coordinator for Imagine That, said the aim was to provide “a bit of fun, a bit of science” and for children to “recognize that science is fun”.

Science Camps have been a staple of Imagine That since it opened, but things have been a little different this year. When Imagine That operated as an interactive children’s museum in Alamo Plaza, camps were held there. However, the museum closed last October due to the expiration of its lease and declining admission since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in all of its contents being donated to the World of Wonders. Lodi Science Museum.

Although the museum is gone, Imagine That continues to carry out its mission to make science lessons fun and accessible. STEAM classes are offered at places like the Three Oaks Community Center and the Discovery Hub, a Dungeon and Dragons Club is held on Saturdays at Forgotten Path Games, and Imagine That has taken its lessons on the road by bringing slime to parties. birthday parties and independently teaching courses in robotics, chemistry and dissection.

Anabelle Padgett and Geniveve Mohr watch Imagine That camp coordinator Mollie Napier create elephant toothpaste — a substance that foams when yeast and hot water are added to hydrogen peroxide — at “Boom! Pan! Splat !” camp. (Nick Sestanovich / The Reporter)

Camps are also back in full force, many of which are hosted at the Innovative Scholars Program Center in Three Oaks or Kairos on Alamo Drive, where this week’s camps are taking place.

“Kairos has been kind enough to allow them to use their classroom when they’re not there,” she said. “As they left for the summer, they told us that we could do camps here.”

Napier said many lessons are related to children’s interests, such as “Minecraft”, Harry Potter, a camp focused on the science of “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” and even a camp that allowed children to solve puzzles. crimes. detectives.

“We try to reach a bunch of different interests,” she said.

This week’s theme is “Boom! Bang! Splat!” Tied to Monday’s Independence Day holiday, kids were able to create fireworks in jars, do the classic Mentos and Soda experiment, and learn about chromatography using ‘a black light. Between lessons, the children used their free time to paint or create using clay, Legos and Snap Circuits.

The two biggest lessons were creating a foamy substance called elephant toothpaste and using acids and bases to change the color of the liquid.

To create the elephant’s toothpaste, Napier poured different volumes of hydrogen peroxide into different beakers, pressed in dish soap to increase surface tension, sprinkled food coloring to distinguish each beaker, and mixed all the substances together. . She then added the most crucial element, a mixture of yeast and hot water, to act as a catalyst to speed up the reaction. The compounds came out of their respective containers in the form of foam, all of different colors.

“It looks like a purple Popsicle and blue cotton candy,” one girl was heard saying.

Napier explained that the foam is the result of an exothermic reaction that can be very hot to the touch.

“If you see the super big ones (experiments) on YouTube, those could potentially give off a lot of heat,” she said, “but ours is smaller. It’s not the big ones on the outside, so it will give off heat, but it won’t give off enough heat to burn.

For the second lab, the children were divided into teams of three and given jars and small bowls. Napier provided them with red cabbage infused water, containing the key ingredient anthocyanin, a water-soluble pigment that gives red cabbage and other foods their colors.

“Anthocyanins change color with acids and bases,” she said. “What you’re going to do today is you’re going to put some of this color-changing stuff in your jar.”

Red cabbage water, initially dark blue in color, was poured into the jars. When baking soda – a base – was added, the color of the water became a lighter blue. When vinegar – an acid – was added, it turned pink.

Oscar Emge, left, and Travis Tonachella react when red cabbage water containing anthocyanins turns from blue to pink after adding vinegar to Imagine That's
Oscar Emge, left, and Travis Tonachella react when red cabbage water containing anthocyanins turns from blue to pink after adding vinegar to Imagine That’s ‘Boom! Bang! Splat!” camp. (Nick Sestanovich/The Reporter)

“You’ve probably mixed vinegar and baking soda before and had a reaction,” Napier said. “But you’ll also get a color change.”

Napier likes the mix of students she’s had this week.

“It’s been really good,” she said. “We have old faces that we had before and new faces.”

Gianna Emge had been to Imagine That when it was at Alamo Plaza and she chose to participate in the “Bang!” Boom! Splat” camp because of its name.

“The name ‘Bang! Bloom! Splat!’ sounded like a very scientific and very fun little camp that I could attend,” she said. “I thought that was really cool, so I decided to join.”

Gianna described the experiments as “really fun”.

For the rest of the week, campers will build catapults to create splash patterns.


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