Appeal-Democrat Archive Writing

Summer Kids: Science goes wild

July 19, 2007

By the end of her extreme makeover, Sheila’s face was a melted mass of goo. The acetone didn’t take too kindly to her Styrofoam pores.

The children watching wanted more nail polish remover added to her decaying face, but it was time to move on to the next experiement.

Jordan “The Science Wizard” Reading brought his light-headed friend to entertain a group of about 100 children with a little science magic at the Sutter County Library July 12.

From potions to putty, the hour-long show brought science to children in something more than a cold, sterile laboratory setting.

Reading didn’t spend his time lecturing the crowd on how potassium iodide acts as a catalyst for the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide.

Instead, he combined the two with a little soap to thrill kids with the eruption of green foam that leapt from the beaker. Reading performed the experiment two more times until he reached what he called “The Big Mama” beaker. Every time he would add ask the kids if he should add more of each ingredient.

“That was really cool,” said James Anderson, 9, Browns Valley. “I told him to only put a little bit of soap in.”

Keeping the amount of soap small, Reading pointed out, is what kept the eruption interesting. Too much soap would have smothered the reaction.

“You wouldn’t know it unless you did it,” he said.