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Discovery Space scares up some science

Diego Del Pilar watches a dry ice experiment during the Spooky Science Program Saturday at Discovery Space in State College.
Diego Del Pilar watches a dry ice experiment during the Spooky Science Program Saturday at Discovery Space in State College. psheehan@centredaily.com

It looked like magic, but a group of students made science happen Saturday night.

About a dozen local middle school students participated in a program called Spooky Science through Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania.

The program allowed the students to turn the things they see on scary movies into reality through their own projects, including creating a witches’ cauldron with steam-like substance coming out the top.

The steam was actually a piece of dry ice placed in a bowl of warm water. Dry ice is a solid form of carbon dioxide measuring at negative 109 degrees Fahrenheit.

When placed in the water, the reaction turned the dry ice back into a gas, which created a type of fog.

Education manager Olivia Perdew said the mission of the three-hour science camp was to educate students on Halloween-themed science projects.

“I like to ask them what they know and then get into the experiment,” she said. “It makes it interactive and a lot of fun.”

When the group was finished with the witches’ cauldron project, they used the same ingredients, but added soap, to make a giant bubble.

It was one of Mount Nittany Middle School student Stephen Elliott’s favorite projects of the night.

“It’s just cool to see what these kind of elements do,” he said.

The layer of soap over the bowl trapped in the gas from the dry ice. As the gases expanded, so did the bubble.

Saturday night’s science camp was the third in a series of camps that promote STEM activities and the maker movement.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. The maker movement encourages students to use their imagination to create things with provided supplies.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

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