Santa helps teach science in fun way at Museum of Aviation

awoolen@macon.comDecember 26, 2012 

WARNER ROBINS -- Children got to make reindeer poop, fake snow and other winter-related items Thursday at the Museum of Aviation’s Science with Santa event.

The sold-out program, now in its ninth year, started out with pictures with Santa Claus.

Children were then sorted by age in science labs.

Fifteen younger children, preschool through first grade, began the adventure with making reindeer poop, which was biodegradeable packing peanuts.

After the four peanuts were placed in front of each child, Ysabella Gordon picked hers up and smelled it, earning a high five from teacher Cindy Groves.

The peanuts were then put in water to dissolve.

“Mix it around,” Santa Claus said as he helped with the class. “Get it all wet.”

Through a chorus of “eww’s” Groves told the class she would give them each a bag to take the poop home so they could use it in their bathtubs and gross out their parents.

Both classes learned how to make artificial snow.

Dayna Stephens, a fourth-grader at Matt Arthur Elementary school, was fascinated by her snow.

“Feel mine,” she said.

This isn’t her first time at the museum. She participated in Spooky Science in October and enjoyed that class, too.

“I like the blood,” the 9-year-old said.

Liz Skinner, a teacher at the museum and of the older children, shocked both classes with her exothermic presentation.

“We’re going to make penguin toothpaste,” she said.

Putting her “magic” potion into two different beakers, Skinner made a pink and blue concoction that bubbled over and created steam.

The children were yelling and clapping as the frothy mixture poured out of the containers.

At four laptops outside of the experiment labs, students were able to send postcards to the crew at the International Space Station.

Clare Swinford, the coordinator for the NASA Regional Educator Resource Center, said last year was the first year they sent the e-mails.

“They do a lot of things to get kids to interact,” Swinford said of the NASA.gov website.

With 34 students participating in the three-hour event, the children learned big words such as hypothesis and polymer.

“We are going to do some big experiments,” Groves said.

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