Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - June 4, 2010

Science extravaganza

Teens share the excitement of chemistry with younger students

by Glenn Woltmann

It was hard to tell who was having more fun at Amador Valley High School's fourth annual Spring Science Extravaganza - the elementary school students from across the district or the high school students putting it on.

The two-day show featured interactive events for the kids, everything from making slime, like the green gloop that's a Nickelodeon staple, to looking at rocks beneath a microscope to being inside a soap bubble.

"It's like a science fair the chemistry class puts on for kids," explained Josh Rosenblatt, an Amador senior. "They like to have fun. They really enjoy all the booths - they're really interactive."

The extravaganza had 34 exhibits, all created by chemistry students themselves, said chemistry teacher Heather Pereira. She said those same students also raised the $6,500 to $7,000 to stage the event by doing fundraisers.

"It's all hands-on," Pereira said. "We try to make it 'make and take.'"

It took 600 Amador Valley students working in shifts to stage the show for 1,200 kids, and clearly the high schoolers were having a great time helping the youngsters have a great time themselves.

"I was so excited to get them," said Tawney Hauser, a 16-year-old junior. "We were running and laughing and jumping."

The elementary school students were captivated from the moment they walked into the Amador Valley gym.

"Ewwww!" they cried, grimacing as a high schooler held out a live lizard from the reptile exhibit. Although they had fun coloring hats with lizard designs on them.

The event featured, among other things, a display of oobleck, a mixture of cornstarch and water that has the properties of both a solid and a liquid; a chance to shoot a ball through a basketball hoop using air pressure; and a display of carnivorous plants.

Pereira said she's looking forward to a few years from now, when the students who went through the extravaganza as youngsters reach high school and get the chance to stage the event for the next set of kids from the elementary schools. Then they'll see who really has the most fun.

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