OGDEN -- The gloved university student stood, sober-faced, before the group of 26 third-graders at H. Guy Child Elementary School.
"This plain-looking cooler holds liquid nitrogen that is so cold, if I stuck in my bare hand, it would shatter like an ice cube," said Jordan Flocken, a University of Utah science student.
The silence of the students, ages 8 and 9, lasted, oh, maybe a millisecond.
"Do it, do it, do it!" they chanted.
But Friday's special science presentation was designed to be hands on, not hands off, so Flocken instead froze and shattered a rubber ball for the third-graders, who watched intently and responded with cheers.
The U of U outreach event, run by U of U chemistry professor Holly Sebahar and five students, included both experiments for the H. Guy Child students to conduct and demonstrations for the college students to present.
* The third-graders made "ghost bubbles," which are soap bubbles filled with a hazy cloud of carbon dioxide, released by dry ice used in the experiment.
* The kids made Alka-Seltzer rockets, which build up pressure and pop skyward after students seal a effervescent antacid tablet and a little warm water into a tiny plastic container, shaped like a pill bottle, then quickly seal it. The gases that form force the top and bottom apart, sending the top portion flying far overhead.
* The college students used the liquid nitrogen stored in the cooler to shrink an air-filled plastic bag. One students also threw warm water in the liquid nitrogen to create a huge, billowing cloud.
* Another adult demonstrator applied flame to two balloons, one containing a nonflammable gas and the other containing hydrogen, a key cause of the 1937 Hindenburg air ship disaster. The heated hydrogen balloon produced a thunderous pop and a quickly dissipating ball of fire, an effect that caused the young students to jump and squeal in delight.
Aidan Iverson, 9, of Ogden, gave the science activities rave reviews.
"I thought science was just a subject," Aidan said. "Now I found out it can be really fun, and you can use it in your life. I liked it when the balloon exploded, and it was really loud."
Paige Larsen, of Uintah, also was impressed.
"I think this is awesome," said the 9-year-old. "It's way better than a normal science class. I liked science before, and now I like it even better."
The science outreach team worked with third-grade students of McKenzie Haws, and later with first-grade students taught by Cindy Patterson, Brenda Wood, Marilyn Parker and Cheryl Combe.
For safety's sake, the first-graders' experience was a little more "hands off."
"I want my kids to love science," said Haws, who teaches all the H. Guy Child third-grade science classes.
"When kids grow up, science seems to be the one subject they are not excited about. These experiments are something they will remember for a long time. These kids are pretty excited."
Haws said elementary school teachers just don't have the time to put on such lavish displays, nor do they have the money for supplies, or the availability of five college student volunteers.
"This is the funnest thing my kids have done with science all year," Haws said.
"They are having a wonderful time and learning how science is connected to the real world. And science uses a lot of math, which helps math stay in their brains more. Students always learn better when one subject connects to another."
Sebahar said she and her volunteers do a science outreach program in a school at least once a week.
"The goal of all our events is to get kids excited about science and thinking about careers," she said. "We leave them excited and feeling positive about science."