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Weird science keeps kids glued to after school program at Sardis

Emmalee Mayo, 5, experiments with her custom batch of "slime" at Sardis Elementary's After School program. (Photo by Rick Crider, The Enquirer Journal.)

Children in the Sardis Elementary After School program had a lesson in weird science Tuesday (Jan. 22, 2013) morning.

The students learned about polymers and made slime to illustrate the bonding qualities of polymers and crosslinkers.

They chose how viscous they wanted their slime to be and also got to choose the color. The children were equally awestruck and grossed out by the slimy, stretchy blob they had created.

Quiet exclamations of "cool" and "gross" could be heard throughout the classroom.

Kindergarten student Emmalee Mayo, 5, was having fun making slime. "(I like) that I get to touch it," Mayo said.

The mad scientist leading the demonstration was Carolyn Adams-Teal, who taught the kids about the science behind slime.

"It's something new every week and the kids really are excited about it," she said when asked what she enjoyed about her job.

After School Program Coordinator Tonya Harris has worked in the county for about 24 years, but is new to Sardis Elementary.

She wanted the students to have something fun during the teacher workday, but also educational. "If I can make a difference, I'm there," she said.

"(I enjoy) seeing the children having fun and just different challenges for them," Harris said. "Seeing them enjoy learning."

Fourth-grade-student Reilly Ferguson said he was having fun. Ferguson, 10, said he learned about crosslinkers and what makes the slime stick.

Before making the slime, the students simulated the principle by chaining together paper clips and using magnetic marbles. When there were not many marbles, they did not stick as well to the chain. However, many marbles stuck well. Adams-Teal explained that was why the name polymer means many bonds.

The students also enjoyed pizza and a visit from Smokey the Bear during the day off from school.

The After School program is meant to help working parents who cannot be there when school is out. It does not duplicate the school day, but rather allows children to explore interests and play. The program also runs summer camps. It is sustained by parent fees and sometimes subsidies.

--Reprinted with permission from The Enquirer Journal.


Written by: Carolyn Steeves, Enquirer Journal education reporter
Posted: Jan 30, 2013 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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