Edible worms, Alka-Seltzer rockets and crime scene investigations, all part of CSUCI Science Carnival

Crowd pleasers like the flaming Gummi Bears, the banana piano and the self-carving pumpkin will return for the 2017 CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) Science Carnival along with dozens of brand new exhibits including a laser harp and a 3-D scanner that will allow you to be scanned and converted into an action figure.

Kids pre-K through 8th grade, their families, and kids-at-heart are invited attend the free Science Carnival on Saturday Nov. 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. at a new location this year: Rio Vista Middle School at 3050 Thames River Drive in Oxnard.

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

“Who doesn’t love the slimy, yucky stuff?” said Professor of Chemistry Phil Hampton, Ph.D., who organizes the Science Carnival. “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 over 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 says the whole idea of the carnival is to show kids that 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, & math),” Hampton said.

Some of the 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, a balloon inflated with baking soda and vinegar, and an engineering project in which kids learn how to build a catapult out of a cork, spoon and rubber band.

Many of these 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 special preview presentation just before the Science Carnival, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Called STEM Experiences for Educators and Leaders or SEEL. The program enables teachers to examine many of the Science Carnival activities before the crowds come in, 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 at http://scactivities.cikeys.com/activities-list/.

To sign up for SEEL, visit the VC STEM website at www.VCSTEM.org 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.

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CSUCI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CSUCI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more by visiting CSUCI’s Social Media.