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Kids go "mad" at science camp

Summer program aims to spark curiosity about science
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Amanda Batiste carefully placed another magazine on top of a stack resting on four columns made of index cards, as her fellow campers held their breath.

They released a round of heavy sighs when the fragile structure stayed intact. But the next magazine brought the experiment crashing down. So the four girls tried the process all over again.

They were testing whether the circular or the square tubes were stronger to determine why human bones are cylindrical shaped. The activity was one of many held during the weeklong Mad Science "Grossology" camp at Granite Bay High School in late June.

Four other camps will be held in Roseville in July. Mad Science is a program that aims to spark the imagination and curiosity of children by providing them with fun, interactive educational programs. Kids learn about science and how it affects their world and their own bodies.

"I like all the fun stuff," Amanda, 10, said. "They have tons of different experiments."

Amanda attends Ridgeview Elementary School in Granite Bay. She and her sister, Maryann Batiste, 11, participated in the Mad Science camp together. Both liked all the mini-explosions, slimey, foamy and sticky aspects of the "Grossology" program.

"I like the hands-on experiments because most science is you just watching your teacher," Maryann said. "Science is not as fun in school."

The girls soon went over to watch as another group continued to build their stack of magazines on their paper columns. At 37 magazines, the circular tubes crumbled. But the square tubes were only strong enough to balance 16 magazines.

"So do you guys get why your bones might be made out of circles?" asked instructor Ryan Drummond.

Next, the campers learned about the digestive track, from the mouth to the esophagus, stomach, large and small intestines and ending at the rectum. The children unraveled plastic tubing the actual length of a human body's digestive track.

They worked a plastic ball through the tubing from the "mouth" to where it would pop out at the other end - until the ball got stuck.

"There's a serious intestinal blockage here," Drummond said, laughing.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

Mad Science summer camps in Placer County

Mad Lab: 9 a.m. to noon Monday, July 9 through Friday, July 13 at Woodcreek High School, 2551 Woodcreek Oaks Blvd. in Roseville. Cost is $140. To register, call (916) 779-0390.

Flight Academy: 9 a.m. to noon Monday, July 16 through Friday, July 20 at Maidu Community Center, 1550 Maidu Drive in Roseville. Cost is $140. To register, call (916) 774-5977.

Radical Robots: 9 a.m. to noon Monday, July 23 through Friday, July 27 at Riley Library, 1501 Pleasant Grove Blvd. in Roseville. Cost is $140. To register, call (916) 774-5977.

Science Super Stars: 9 a.m. to noon Monday, July 30 through Friday, Aug. 3 at Woodcreek High School, 2551 Woodcreek Oaks Blvd. in Roseville. Cost is $140. To register, call (916) 779-0390.

Info: All camps for ages 6 to 12, except Radical Robots for ages 7 to 12. For more information, visit www.madscience.org/sacramento.