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Sliming me with science

January 20, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Devon Gross a fourth-grader at Lincolnshire Elementary School plays with OOBLECK, a mixture of corn starch and water, Thursday night during the Science Festival at Lincolnshire. Many kids know this mixture as slime.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

Like many schools, Lincolnshire Elementary School in Halfway has held science fairs in past years to help stimulate students' interest in the subject.

But third grade teacher Sheri Stewart became concerned that many students don't feel comfortable with science.

So she decided to make it more fun.

At the school Thursday night, Stewart and others launched the first annual Science Festival, where students could do everything from peer inside a computer made of Legos, to plunging their hands into a fresh batch of "oobleck."

Although students still conduct science projects at the school, Stewart said she wanted to have a festival where kids could get hands-on experience involving science.

At a booth in the school's gymnasium, computer students from Washington County Technical High School showed a computer they build with Legos. The computer was illuminated from inside, displaying an array of brilliant colors.

Another computer was built inside a briefcase, as if it were part of an espionage attempt.

As kids gazed at the contraptions, Washington County Technical High School students told hem what the technical high school offers.

At another booth across the gym, more technical high school students were showing a robot they are building. They said it is part of a ongoing project to build a robot that will be able to go into the model of a house and put out flames.

Dozens of students, parents and others jammed into the school to see displays, like an oobleck demonstration by Keith Allhouse, an assistant principal at the school.

Oobleck is a substance created by combining water and cornstarch. The combination creates an unusual substance that is dry when it is poured on a table. But when it is picked up, it becomes liquid.

The concoction also has other weird properties, such as impenetrability when you punch a bowl full of it.

But then fingers glide into it easily if they are pushed into it slowly.

"I don't know how to explain it," Allhouse said.

The booth was a big hit among kids who had oobleck all over their hands.

The festival was also a big hit for Gwen Ross of Hagerstown and her two children, ages 9 and 6.

Ross said her children love science experiments. But when she mentions the subject science to them, they are not interested.

"Oh they are really enjoying it," Ross said when she was asked about Thursday's festival.

"We are going from table to table. They can't get to (them) fast enough," Ross said.

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