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Clayton library offers summer science lab

By Linda Looney-Bond

lbond@news-daily.com

More than a dozen local children received a hands-on lesson in science Wednesday during a summer, science lab series underway at the Clayton County Headquarters Library, on Battlecreek Road in Jonesboro.

"I thought it was going to be something where we had to take notes and listen," said Tori Pippins, 11, of Rex. "I didn't know we were going to do an experiment. I had fun," said Pippins.

The lesson involved mixing three tablespoons of baking soda, 1/2 cup of vinegar - an acid - and 1/4 cup of warm water to create a reaction.

"It's combined in a zip lock bag and sealed tight," said Sherry Thomas, the instructor for the "Sherry's Science Lab" series. "When you create an acid-base reaction, the two chemicals work together to create a gas, and the particular gas today was carbon

dioxide," said Thomas. "Gases need a lot of room to expand, and when gas is contained ... it fills that container [and] that's what causes chemical explosions."

Popping noises could be heard throughout the classroom at the library Wednesday, as each child's mixture of baking soda, vinegar and water created a small explosion.

"It's good any time a child can learn something and have fun," said Janice Graham, of Rex, who brought Pippins, the daughter of her friend and neighbor, to the class. "I'm grateful for what the library is providing for the children for the summer," she said.

Mirick Grant, 34, of Jonesboro, and his wife, Connie, brought their two children, Josef, 6, and Sarah, 7, to the class.

"We homeschool our kids," said Grant. "As far as a science class, we didn't have a science base, so we decided to bring them out for a good basis for science education," he said.

Thomas, a part-time youth services assistant for the library, located at 865 Battlecreek Road, is also a student at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw. The biotechnology major said she will be a junior in the fall.

"I've enjoyed science my whole life," she said. "The class combines my two favorite things - working with the kids, teaching them, and exposing them to science," she said.

Thomas, who's worked for the headquarters library for three years, said the library decided to offer a series of science labs this summer, after she taught one class last year that received a good response.

"Sherry's Science Lab" classes are free of charge, however, advanced registration is required. Each week will focus on a new science topic, according to Thomas.

Children, aged 7 and older, may participate in the weekly classes, which are held each Wednesday through the month of July, from 10 a.m., until 11 a.m.

For more information, contact the library at (770) 473-3850, or e-mail Youth Services Librarian Bea Mengel at beamengel@claytonpl.org.