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Teen Turf day campers conduct experiments

Posted: Monday, Jun 30th, 2014

Leah Hilderbrand, left, and Eileen Piper explain about rust during an experiment on June 24 at Teen Turf's afternoon day camp session. (News photo by Jennifer Campbell)

AMBOY "The food coloring is actually trying to get away from the soap," Leah Hilderbrand explained at Teen Turf's afternoon day camp session on June 24. Chemical reaction was the topic of the day. Milk was placed in a pan along with dish soap and food coloring. The purpose of the experiment was to illustrate the concept of repulsion.

"We're going to do another type of experiment involving combustion," Hilderbrand continued. Hilderbrand is a RN. She introduced the objects for the next experiment, steel wool and a 9-volt battery.

"Fire!" a student exclaimed.

The mixture of the air and charge from the battery provides the spark said Hilderbrand. The steel wool strands needed to be slightly separated to provide the other ingredient, air.

"How would you guys like to try it yourself?" she asked the class.

"Great, said a student.

"Who thinks they can do it?" Eileen Piper asked.

"Me, me, me, me!" is the resulting chant from the excited students.

Hilderbrand demonstrated that the intensity of the flame can be increased by providing more oxygen to the fire, which she demonstrated by blowing on the burning steel wool.

"Did you notice she's being real careful? Is she touching it with her hands?" Piper asked the class.

"No, the class responded.

Piper reminded students that they should never replicate the experiment at home unless Mom or Dad was with them.

"Smell is another sign that a reaction is happening," Hilderbrand told the students. She asked students to name signs that a chemical reaction was happening.

"Does anyone feel how the battery is warm now?" Hilderbrand asked. "Do you know why your tablet or i-Pod gets warm after you've been playing on it for awhile?"

"It feels like cotton candy," said a student examining the steel wool after the reaction. After the reaction, the steel wool was cool to the touch.

"Fireworks are another reaction, right?" Hilderbrand asked.

"Are sparklers hot when you get done using them?" Piper asked students. "Why is a sparkler different than this?"

"We're using a different form of energy," Hilderbrand said.

A check on the rust experiment, in progress, was needed. Vinegar and steel wool had been left in plastic cups covered with tin foil. The steel wool had turned a different color and students remarked that the consistency of the steel wool was harder. The vinegar was an oxidizing agent.

Last year, the day camp theme was "around the world" and diversity was discussed.

"The rubbing alcohol actually turns to a gas, after the heat hits it," Hilderbrand explained about a prior experiment of "burning money." "It burns around the money." The money itself was not burned.

Tornado in a bottle was another experiment. The kids were able to take this experiment home to show their family.

Another experiment involved a shaving cream cloud. They talked about hot air and cold air and how thunderstorms and tornados are made.

"It is very fun to teach. The kids are awesome," Hilderbrand added. Students can still join the day camp program at Teen Turf.

Snacks were the next order of business followed by the "grand finale," an opportunity to slide down the inflatable water slide. Junior High student helpers held hoses with water directed on the slide to make sure no one left dry.

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