Asteroid Angela Helps Science Take Off

June 20, 2012 | 1:37pm

Meet Asteroid Angela and her “booger slime”.

Together, they’re getting kids – and especially girls – excited about science.

Angela Scroggins, aka Asteroid Angela, brought her traveling Mad Science show to the Imperial Beach Library Tuesday afternoon.

She spent about an hour intriguing and amazing a crowd of nearly 50 children and parents.

“It’s all about sparking their imaginations and making it hands-on fun,” Scroggins said.

The experiments mix entertainment and education in equal amounts. Getting kids to learn terms like exothermic reaction and sublimation requires the right hook. And in this presentation, things like “booger slime”, dry ice and a dancing George Washington did the trick, even for the adults.

“I love the interaction between the kids and parents,” said June Engel, the Imperial Beach librarian. “We try to have programs that are family-oriented, so it’s not just parents dropping the kids off.”

The most popular experiment was a series of demonstrations involving dry ice. First, Scroggins took a metal spoon at room temperature. When she touched the surface of the dry ice with it, a loud shrieking sound was emitted, caused by the reaction of the atoms in the spoon with the extremely cold temperature (minus 109 degrees).

A little history was mixed in next, when she made George Washington dance. She wedged a quarter in the dry ice and the reaction caused the quarter to keep spinning until she stopped it.

Another dry ice experiment mixed red food coloring, dish soap, industrial hydrogen peroxide and potassium iodine to create a volcano (exothermic reaction).

The kids learned about polymers and liquid plastics through the “booger slime” experiment. Scroggins used poly vinyl alcohol and yellow and green food coloring to create the slimy material. The take-away lesson was that your hair and skin are also polymers, just like the slime.

Besides exciting children about science, Scroggins also hopes her presence has an effect on the young girls in attendance.

“I think it’s very important for them to see a female doing science,” she said. “It shows little girls that you can do it, too, and that science could be a good career choice for them.”

The Mad Science program is part of the San Diego County Library’s Summer Reading Club that runs through August 5. You can find out more about the reading program by clicking here