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Hands-on science

Scott Henrie talks with students about the science of crime scene investigation.

Sun Advocate associate editor

Slime is gross, which may be why kids like it.

But students from Sally Mauro Elementary found out Tuesday that the colorful, slippery ooze is a chemical that they could make themselves. And they did just that.

In the USU Eastern inorganic chemistry lab, they learned from assistant professor John Weber that they could mix dilute solutions of polyvinyl alcohol and borax, dribble in a few drops of food coloring, and create the popular polymer.

They weren't the only ones who learned this. Some 200 students per day for four days this week were let in on that secret and other cool science experiences. The objective was to stimulate interest in science and to promote USU Eastern as the place to learn it.

Students also got a look at a crime scene, complete with a dead body (a dummy borrowed from the nursing department), and evidence such as a shell casing scattered about. Criminal justice instructor Scott Henrie explained to the kids how science plays a key role in crime scene investigation.

In David Kardelis' physics lab, students built their own bottle rockets by taping fins on plastic bottles and capping the rockets off with golf ball nose cones.

Students who had straight fins and just the right amount of water in their bottles watched their rockets fly the length of a football field as they launched the projectiles from a compressed air cannon.

All projects were designed to be age-group safe.

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