College students organize event to foster youngsters’ interest in science as part of service learning class

Camarillo, Calif., Oct. 6, 2011 – Ventura County students, grades K-8, are invited to launch marshmallows, make glow-in-the-dark goo, mix their own lotion, torch gummy bears and electrocute pickles as part of CSU Channel Islands’ (CI) Third Annual Science Carnival.

Just don’t tell them that all 50 of the free, interactive demonstrations featured at the event are actually science lessons disguised as fun. “It’s designed to be a hands-on science night where students can experience science in a carnival-like atmosphere and see that science is fun, interesting and something they can make a career out of,” said Dr. Phil Hampton, the CI chemistry professor who created the event.

The Science Carnival will be held Friday, Oct. 21, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at University Charter Middle School, 700 Temple Ave., in Camarillo. The event is free and open to all Ventura County K-8 graders and their families.

The Halloween-themed carnival will also include a “haunted suitcase” that levitates in the air, fluorescent “Gak” (slime), cauldrons of spooky smoking punch, and other Halloween and Carnival-themed refreshments. Students will be able to create and take home science experiments and win prizes in science-based contests. Kids are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes.

It’s the third year that CI has organized the Science Carnival for local students, with help from the Free Radicals, the student chemistry club. For the first time this year, 15 CI students are developing the Science Carnival for credit in their CHEM 492 Service Learning class.

“It gives CI students the opportunity to promote to younger kids why they like science, while at the same time applying their science coursework and explaining the concepts behind the demonstrations they’re doing,” Hampton said.

Hampton also enlisted students from Hueneme High School and University Charter Middle School to help conduct demonstrations and staff booths at the Science Carnival. The event is part of a broader effort by CI to inspire more Ventura County students to pursue educations and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which are vital to the maintaining the nation’s stature as an innovator and job producer. The Science Carnival is funded with the help of a federal grant awarded to CI that encourages STEM opportunities and outreach.

For additional information, contact Dr. Phil Hampton, Professor of Chemistry, at 805-437-8869 or

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About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands 
(CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more by visiting CI's Social Media.