From elephant toothpaste to gummy bears: Sic ‘Em Science Day showcases kid-friendly chemistry

Baylor’s American Chemical Society Affiliates is hosting Sic ‘Em Science Day from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday on the rear side of the Baylor Sciences Building, located on Bagby Avenue. Photo courtesy of Ainsley Dunn

By Sarah Gallaher | Staff Writer

Baylor’s American Chemical Society Affiliates is set to welcome families to Sic ‘Em Science Day from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Usually hosted by the Mayborn Museum Complex in the fall, ACS will host the spring session independently, including a variety of hands-on experiments and its traditional Chemistry Magic Show.

Founded in 1876, the American Chemical Society is one of the oldest and largest scientific organizations in the nation. Medford, Ore., junior and ACS president Ainsley Dunn said the group is excited to host Sic ‘Em Science Day by itself. In the past, ACS partnered with the Mayborn, but the group received permission to host its own spring event this year in addition to the fall event.

“It’s never happened on campus before, and we wanted to have it twice per year,” Dunn said. “We went through all of the process to get it approved as an event in the spring, so that will be run by our organization.”

There will be two sessions during the three-hour event, and each will include an hour of small hands-on experiments for children. The experiments include kid-safe activities like iodine clock reactions and blowing up a balloon with vinegar and baking soda. Sic ‘Em Science Day is intended for school-age children, but Dunn said younger and older children have also enjoyed the activities in the past.

ACS members will guide children through the experiments, allowing them to get “up close and personal” with chemistry, Dunn said. St. Louis junior and ACS social media manager Viviana Castillo said Sic ‘Em Science Day is an opportunity for families to bring learning outside of the classroom in a fun and engaging way.

“It’s a very family-oriented event for children to be inspired by seeing science right in front of them,” Castillo said.

Following the hands-on experiments, ACS members will put on their Chemistry Magic Show, traditionally performed as a part of Mayborn’s Sic ‘Em Science Day in the fall. The show includes bigger experiments better performed by those with adequate chemistry knowledge, including well-known experiments like “elephant toothpaste” and “death of a gummy bear.”

Due to limited outdoor seating, attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or picnic blankets for added comfort during the 30-minute show.

Although this part of the event is observation-only, Castillo said it still entertains children and, combined with the small hands-on experiments, can spark a lifelong interest in science.

“You’re able to see the application of these concepts that you can read on paper, but seeing it in person and being able to be hands-on with it is such a different experience,” Castillo said. “It’s something that I personally would have loved to have as a kid as someone who was very interested in science and wanted to get into that field, but I never attended any of these events. I feel like this is a really good opportunity to inspire some children or solidify their goals in life, even if it is something as small as an experiment with slime.”

Both Dunn and Castillo shared their passion for science and their desire to pass it along to the next generation. To Dunn, chemistry is an important subject for children to learn about at a young age.

“Oftentimes, you don’t get up close and personal with chemistry until high school, so it’s a good way for them to get their foot in the door to learn about a field that’s super innovative and has a lot of impactful research that comes out of it,” Dunn said.

Sic ‘Em Science Day will take place from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday on the rear side of the Baylor Sciences Building, located on Bagby Avenue.