Halloween Science Fair to put spotlight on magic

Friday October 11, 2019Roger Coda
illustration of exploding pumpkin

What do helium bubbles, a fire snake and elephant toothpaste have in common?

They’re all prime-time attractions at the magic-themed annual Halloween Science Fair that members of the Chemistry Club will stage over two days on the third floor of the Science Center.

The fair’s first day, Saturday, Oct. 26, from 1 to 3 p.m., will be part of Fredonia’s Office of Admissions' Signature Saturday series so it is reserved for prospective students planning to study a natural science or psychology. Featured experiments to be conducted by current science students will include a black fire snake, a luminol spell, colored flame tornadoes, a gummy bear torture, a stop light, the sublimation of iodine and elephant toothpaste.

“The fire snake is essentially a bowl of sand and lighter fluid, onto which we will pour sugar and baking soda and light on fire. The reaction occurs and results in a black spiral ‘snake’ emerging from the sand,” explained Kaycie Malyk, co-chair of the fair, president of the Chemistry Club and a senior Chemistry major.

For elephant toothpaste, dish soap and food coloring are added to hydrogen peroxide. A saturated solution of potassium iodide is then added to that solution, Ms. Malyk said, resulting in a large explosion of colored soap/foam.

Current Fredonia students are welcomed to visit the labs from 3 to 5 p.m. on the first day.

A family/community day will be held on the second day, Sunday, Oct. 27, from 1 to 5 p.m. Highlights will include the fire snake, luminol spell, iodine, stop light, gummy bear and elephant toothpaste, along with a potential glow stick experiment and a colored vortex experiment.

“The hands-on activities we are planning to include are helium bubbles (floating cutouts of bubbles in different shapes), dry ice bubbles and an electric eel experiment with gummy worms,” Malyk noted.

There will also be a photo booth.

Members of the Biology Club will also assist in the experiments.

There is no admission fee for either days of the Halloween Science Fair.

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