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Grant money helps students experience science

Larry Stumbo, left, and Landon Johnson, right, learn about liquids and gasses during a COSI visit at the Dawson-Bryant Elementary School Tuesday.

COAL GROVE — The words “simple” and “chemistry” are rarely used together in the same sentence, but Tuesday, the “It’s Simply Chemistry” COSI on Wheels program at Dawson-Bryant Elementary School was all about fun and hands-on learning.

Nearly 400 second through fifth graders were able to participate in the traveling science program thanks to a Walmart Foundation Strive for Excellence Mini-Grant Initiative that was awarded to the school earlier this year.

Fourth-grade science teacher Julie Payne, who applied for the grant, used about half of a $2,000 grant from the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio to bring COSI to the students. The other half was used to purchase perishable and non-perishable supplies incorporating technology with science and math skills through hands-on activities in earth, life and physical science units of study, which all grade levels can use.

Principal Angie Dillow said it had been about two years since the school had hosted COSI.

“I think it’s great for the kids to have hands-on science experience to peak their interest,” she said. “I appreciate Mrs. Payne’s hard work in getting the grant.”

Equipped with safety goggles, each student had the opportunity to work with Teacher Academy students, student council members, chemistry club members and other high school volunteers to test pH levels in different acids and bases, perform endothermic and exothermic reactions, make secret messages and match unknown substances under microscopes.

But the highlight seemed to be making slime.

High school freshmen aided students in picking colors and making the gooey substance to take home.

Polyvinyl alcohol, food coloring, sodium tetraborate and some vigorous shaking was all it took to make the slime and make the students happy.

“They all take deep breaths before they start shaking them up,” said freshman volunteer Morgan Harrison. “And everyone keeps trying to trick us into making two.”

Volunteer Isaiah Gunther helped second grader Evan McKee make his green slime.

Evan said he enjoyed making the slime and also the black light experiments. His friend Kyle Bone agreed.

“I liked all of them,” Kyle said about the various experiments. “I want to try them at home, but my mom won’t let me.”