STEM chemistry lab piques interests of students - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

STEM chemistry lab piques interests of students

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Students made two kinds of putty during this Chemistry lab at Dordt College. Students made two kinds of putty during this Chemistry lab at Dordt College.
SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (KTIV) -

Kylie Iverson has always wanted to learn about science. That's music to the ears of Carl Fictorie, a chemistry professor at Dordt College.

"It's a lot of fun seeing the kids come in, and this is a fun age to work with because and it's good to tap their excitement and enthusiasm for these things," said Fictorie.

On Saturday, Iverson took part in STEM Fest at Dordt College. It's an all day hands-on workshop for middle school and upper elementary students. Their first stop: the chemistry lab.

Some of the experiments were a bit messy.

"Yeah, as you can tell," said Iverson.

One of the cool things about these activities is the students can replicate many of these experiments at home, like making their own silly putty.

Students worked with two different kinds of putty, to see how different chemicals reacted, to make chemical bonds.

"Slime was...slimier or gooier and the putty was bouncier," said Keanna Postma of Dune, Iowa.

They started with a glue and water mixture, and then a thickening agent was added.

"Because of the borax," said Postma.

Students used shaving cream, food coloring and blank post cards to make multi-colored designs.

"The last one was my favorite," said Iverson. "We had to put a bunch of coloring in it and our hands got dirty from it," said Iverson.

And as kids keep learning, you can chalk it up as a win for Fictorie.

"The wow factor that you get from seeing their eyes light up, when things change, when they work. But really, then, also asking questions 'why'?" said Carl Fictorie, a professor of chemistry at Dordt.

The festival was part of a partnership with Dordt College and the Iowa State University Extension 4H and Youth Programs.

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