A group of 17 elementary students had to pull up their sleeves and grab a pair of latex gloves as they dove into experiments in "Mad Science," one of Grayson College’s Youth Summer of Discovery camp programs.

A group of 17 elementary students had to pull up their sleeves and grab a pair of latex gloves as they dove into experiments in "Mad Science," one of Grayson College’s Youth Summer of Discovery camp programs.


"We found that a lot of elementary schools in this area and the state of Texas don’t have the time to focus on science," the college’s laboratory coordinator Crystal Crow said. "We wanted to them the opportunity to experience actual science because so many of them just don’t really get that opportunity in school.


Crow and science professor Patrice Parsons taught the students about chemical reactions and the properties of chemistry. After sifting through numerous books for young scientists, the instructors found experiments that were not only safe but also fun.


"I hope they bring home a love for learning to open their eyes and see the things around them in the world," Crow said.


Bugs were a part of the curriculum this week as students tried out a mealworm-racing experiment. Students had mealworms in a little dish and used substances such as cornstarch, salt and lemon juice to see what the mealworm was most attracted to.


At one point, the young scientists were able to work with college students to learn how to extract DNA from pieces of fruit. Strawberries were mushed inside a little bag and then students add an extraction buffer which contains salt, water and soap to break down the DNA. After the students filtered the ingredients, they added ethanol for the final step.


"The kids think it’s fun because the DNA actually looks like snot, you can pull it out of the tube and look at the snot on a glass rod," Crow said.


In a tastier experiment, students sampled four kinds of frozen desserts: Ben & Jerry’s, Dreyer’s, Great Value and frozen yogurt in a blind tasting test. Crow said they wanted to see if students could taste the difference and figure out why. She said the instructors hypothesize the reason some of the ice cream brands are more expensive and taste better because of they are higher in fat.


Katilyn Marsden of Sherman said her father told her about the "Mad Science" class, and she thought the class sounded like fun because she always earns A-pluses in science. She said science is a fun subject that allows you to learn and change the world.


"Scientists discover new things to keep the world safe," Marsden said. "If an asteroid came to earth or if a volcano is going to erupt, they would know about it."


Jonathan Cox of Bells said he was happy his mom signed him up for the class because science is his favorite subject. He said he enjoys science because it is connected with other subjects like math and social studies.


"This week I learned that a kiwi, for a short period of time, can prevent an apple of a pear from turning brown or oxidizing," Cox said.


Both Marsden and Cox said they hope it’s OK with their parents to try some of the science experiments at home.