Area children treated to science show at Heights library

Dozens of area children and their families were treated to a show full of science experiments, courtesy of the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library and Mad Science of Austin. The show was part of the library’s spring break theme, “Something Science-y.”

More than 150 people turned out for the live event, which featured a number of experiments that brought science concepts to life.

The show was led by Andrea Cook, who told her young audience, “My job is, I am a mad scientist,” further explaining that this meant that she was “crazy about science.”

Cook’s show, engaging, fast-paced, and dynamic, used scientific vocabulary in easy-to-understand terms, further aiding children’s understanding with her demonstrations.

The first half of the show focused on force, gravity, and Bernoulli’s Principle. The first experiment involved a challenge to her volunteers (Cook used volunteers throughout her show): could they fill a giant wind bag using only 10 breaths?

It was here she explained that Bernoulli’s Principle meant, “Faster moving air creates a drop in pressure, which will help fill the wind bag and achieve lift.”

Though her young volunteers barely made a dent in the bag, she stood back a bit and blew one big breath of air. This mixed, she said, with the room’s air, which filled the bag much faster, amazing everyone.

Expanding on this, Cook’s next experiment challenged her new volunteers to “defy gravity” using ping pong balls. Throwing the balls into the air, of course, brought them right back down again, but Cook used a hair dryer to help the balls achieve lift and remain loft.

Her third experiment used larger, heavier balls. Here she asked the audience to predict whether the hair dryer had enough force to keep the larger balls aloft.

Most of the children said, of course, no, and were amazed that, while nowhere near the lift of the ping pong balls, the hair dryer was, in fact, able to do so. Cook then brought out a leaf blower to use, and the balls went high into the air, drawing gasps of wonder from everyone.

Area children treated to science show at Heights library

The second half of Cook’s show discussed states of matter and sublimation using dry ice.

Dry ice, she explained, is solid carbon dioxide, with a temperature of -109 degrees Fahrenheit.

She produced a quarter and told her audience that she would make George Washington “shiver.”

Everyone got silent as, when Cook placed the quarter on the block of dry ice, they could hear a crackling sound. The quarter, she explained, warmed the ice, causing it to vibrate as it turned to gas, known as sublimation.

She demonstrated this process further by placing small amounts of dry ice into a beaker and stretching a balloon over the opening. As the ice melted, the gas created inflated the balloon.

Other experiments Cook performed for, and with, her audience using the dry ice included a “burping potion,” a “shower,” and a dry ice “bubble bath.”

Every experiment drew lots of “oohs” and “aahs” from children and adults alike.

Trey Stubbs came to the show with his daughter Vada, 6, from Belton.

“She was very excited about it,” he said.

Ashley Patton of Fort Hood brought her two daughters, Aston, 4, and Willow, 6, saying both girls really like science.

“(Aston) is so much younger and very hands-on, but my oldest just as a spark,” she said. “I’m so glad for events like this that we can take her to,” adding, “We had a great time!”

Cook said of the event, “It went great! I’m always impressed when the adults are engaged as the children!”