Monday, October 22 , 2018, 11:39 pm | Fair 59º


The Slimier the Better at CSUCI Science Carnival

Exciting experiments designed to heighten sense of wonder for all ages

CSUCI Science Carnival is Nov. 4 at Rio Vista Middle School in Oxnard.
CSUCI Science Carnival is Nov. 4 at Rio Vista Middle School in Oxnard. (CSUCI)

Edible worms, Alka-Seltzer rockets and crime-scene investigations are all part of the free CSU Channel Islands 2017 Science Carnival, 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, at Rio Vista Middle School, 3050 Thames River Drive, Oxnard.

The flaming Gummi Bears, banana piano and self-carving pumpkin will back this year, along with new exhibits including a laser harp and a 3-D scanner that will allow a human to be scanned and converted into an action figure.

Participants can explore more than 110 hands-on projects, many of them loud, colorful or that special kind of gross kids love, like Magnetic Goo, Ooblek, Slime, Flubber, and Liquid Nitrogen Dippin’ Dots.

“Who doesn’t love the slimy, yucky stuff?” said Phil Hampton, chemistry professor, who organizes the event. “It’s fun. It occasionally explodes and catches on fire and burns with bright colors.

"Science can be yucky, slimy, gooey, colorful, explosive or musical.”

Hampton and a handful of CSUCI student volunteers put on the first Science Carnival nine years ago, drawing a couple hundred visitors. Since then, the carnival has grown, involving more than 300 volunteers and drawing crowds of more than 2,200.

Partnerships have sprung up with the Oxnard Union High School District Academies, for example, whose academy students and instructors help with the event.

Hampton said the idea of the carnival is to show kids science is anything but dry or boring or confined to a text book.

“The idea is to engage kids and parents in a night of hands-on science and increase their wonder and joy at science, or more broadly, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math),” Hampton said.

Some new features this year include more activities for the youngest kids, such as robotic bees that can be programmed to go through a maze, a water xylophone, magic sand that repels water; and a balloon inflated with baking soda and vinegar.

A number of of the activities were created in partnership with CSUCI’s Early Childhood Education Program.

Teachers and educators who teach at the early childhood, elementary or middle school level or paraprofessionals working in after-school programs are invited to a preview presentation 3:30-5 p.m., just before the Science Carnival.

Called STEM Experiences for Educators and Leaders or SEEL, the program lets teachers examine many of the carnival activities before the crowds arrive, and learn how to implement similar projects in their own classrooms.

Participants can collect QR codes of the activities that lead to the Science Carnival activities website,

To sign up for SEEL, visit the VC STEM website at and click on the registration button. Teachers can start the day at the Gold Coast Science Network conference at Oxnard College and finish the day at SEEL.

— Kim Gregory for CSU Channel Islands.


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