Children experiment with science at the Discovery Museum | Local news
When the kids and their families showed up at the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum for Science on Saturday, they probably weren’t expecting to be drenched in the blast of water and liquid nitrogen, or freezing hot dogs and marshmallows.
Students in the physics department at Hancock College conducted various science experiments with the children on Saturday morning to increase their interest in science fields.
Demonstrations included a superconductor and magnetic field experiment, freezing balloons and hot dogs in liquid nitrogen, and learning how to operate waves with a tsunami tank, funded by a megathrust tsunami grant.
Physics teacher Rob Jorstad brought four student volunteers to the Discovery Museum, who took part in various experiments and engaged children.
“If you expose them early on, you give them something to grow from,” Jorstad said. “Learning doesn’t happen overnight. The sooner they get that foundation, the sooner they will be motivated and interested in knowing more.
The professor said that during the process of exposing children, his physics students also learn a lot.
“They have the incredible experience of feeling that they are helping the community,” he said. “They are excited and feel like they are experts at something.”
A student, who was demonstrating magnetic fields and superconductors, said it is important to engage children from an early age.
“It’s important to come back and encourage the children as I was encouraged at a young age,” said Juan Macias, a student at Hancock. “They are so impressionable. I think it’s cool to see them excited about science.
Engineering student Maria Munoz added, “Physics in general is about a lot of things. It’s good for kids to understand how things work.
“Being exposed to these kinds of events would have been nice when I was young,” she said.
All of these experiences led to the moment the children were eagerly awaiting: the volcano explosion.
As they gathered in the parking lot, Jorstad explained that they filled a trash can with about 30 gallons of water and the students would fill a bottle with liquid nitrogen and put it inside.
“Liquid nitrogen is about 200 degrees cooler than air,” he told them. “When liquid nitrogen comes in contact with water, it will heat up very quickly and expand. “
After the students from Hancock put the liquid nitrogen in the water, Jorstad teased the students and said, “I don’t think that’s going to work,” just as the concoction burst.
The kids screamed as the water rash drenched them, their parents, and Hancock’s students.
“It was bigger than I thought,” Jorstad said with a laugh.
A girl from Arroyo Grande expressed her enthusiasm.
“The water was going everywhere, then we liked the water! Said Kailani Johnson, an 8-year-old in second grade.
She added: “I want to learn how science works and if we can use it, and how we can use it for good things.”
Krista Chandler covers education in Santa Maria for Lee Central Coast News. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @KristasBeat.