In a lab classroom at Ishi Hills Middle School Friday morning there were lots of bubbles, but not the soap-and-water kind children buy at the store.
These were made when Science Ambassadors from Oroville High School mixed chemicals for various experiments during a mentoring event with the younger students.
The event took place in Jackie Musselman's science room for three eighth-grade classes, Ishi Hills' own Science Ambassadors.
Musselman said the mentoring project was a combined effort between herself, Oroville High science department chairman and teacher Rich Hogan, and earth science and chemistry teacher Shane Johnston.
"Our mission is to make science exciting to kids," said Musselman, as students rotated between experiment stations. "Shane, Rich and I are committed to making kids like science, whether they like it or not."
Several experiments occurred in the room, including one where beakers filled with colorful liquid smoked and billowed with tiny bubbles that frothed over the sides. That proved great fun for the Ishi students, who scooped, burst and tossed the bubbles at each other. The beakers were filled with food coloring, dry ice and warm water. To that, a mentor added liquid soap, resulting in the bubbling froth.
The object of the experiments was toshow different physical and chemical changes tha0t occur when alterations are made.
Some of Musselman's students stood aloof, but others participated and appeared to be interested.
One station that elicited turned down mouths and exclamations such as "Eew!" was a green, slimy goo that the kids fingered, pulled and tried to remove from their hands. A mentor said the slime was made from borax mixed with clear glue and water, with food coloring added for the tint.
Over at another station, two girls demonstrated how gases from dry ice mixed with water could expand a balloon and eject it into the air.
The experiment that drew most fascination, however, was another bubble maker. Dry ice and water were combined in a large commercial drinking water bottle, with a vacuum hose attached. A smaller container contained a mix of soap, water and glycerine.
When mentor Saou Thao placed the vacuum end into the soapy solution, the gases emitted from the water bottle caused thick, big bubbles to ooze out. Students held the bubbles in their hands for several minutes.
Hogan said the process gives more rigidity to the soap walls "to make the bubbles bigger and last longer, and more maneuverable."
The visit to Ishi was the first time the Oroville High Science Ambassadors have gone to a school to mentor other students. The group plans to do an outreach other schools in the community to give students an of idea what they'll experience in high school science classes.
Musselman said her middle-school students will in turn mentor younger grades.
She said Science Ambassadors is a program within the advanced science class.
"Their mission is to be ambassadors to science, working with children from kindergarten through sixth grade," Musselman said.
She said her ambassadors are working through Chico State University, and added that the Oroville City Elementary School District has been very supportive of the program.
As students oohed and aahed during the morning, Musselman watched with excitement, sighed and said, "We're really committed to the poetry of how beautiful science is."