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Ripon Unified event is Thursday
Ripon  Science IMG 2257
Retired teacher Karen Treick is shown demonstrating the effect of a drop of liquid soap on a sea of ground pepper in a pie tin. The pepper floats to the side of the tin as she uses a toothpick to put a single drop of soap into the pan to break the surface tension. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Science experiments are on tap for parents and students alike in 18 classrooms Thursday starting at 6:30 p.m. at Colony Oak Elementary School during the districtwide Ripon Unified Family Science Night for kindergarten through sixth grade students.
The entry fee of $2 is based on only the student participating. It will be collected at the door to pay for the cost of supplies.
Fourth grade science teacher Karen Treick has volunteered her time to organize the evening and purchase all the items needed for the event. It includes the owl pellets she found at a reduced price from a friend who collects them beneath palm trees and freezes them at her home after baking them at 300 degrees for half an hour.
The owl pellet experiment has been a drawing card for years to snag the interest of older children attending Ripon schools.  They are typically fascinated when they are given the task of dissecting what the owl regurgitates after eating small animals and birds throughout their nightly hunt. The  bones of their prey typically cannot be digested. 
Students dig into the egg-shaped pellets with tweezers and identify the teeth and bones from the remains of the owl’s prey after the owl pellet has been given time to defrost.
Treick, who retired after teaching 24 years, has continued as a volunteer and a substitute teacher in the Ripon school district.  She has organized the science district-wide event for over 20 years.  In 2015 the Family Science Night had some 750 students attend along with parents plus 39 teachers.
Treick noted that traditionally homework is not assigned to students on Family Science Night to encourage the participation of as many students as possible and to allow families to enjoy the learning experience with their children.
The series of experiments includes Glowing Germs, Squawking Chicken, Static Strokes, Float – Sink— Swim, Colorific, Dino-mite, Instant Intestines, Good Vibrations, Atmospheric Pressure, Mighty Magnets, Water Works II, Who-o-s for Dinner? Gluep,  Aerodynamics, Milk Explosion and What’s the Matter?
Treick said black lights will also be used to show students what’s left on their hands and in their finger nails after they have washed them in the restroom.  The remaining dirt and bacteria will glow brightly after exposed to the black light.
Washing the hands is an activity of stimulation as to how germs can spread and how proper handwashing can stop the spread of some germs, the science teacher explained.
“Play with the little soft toys on the table.  Ask the attendant for some ‘liquid germs.’ Rub the germs all over your hands, both sides, even under your fingernails.  Then hold them under the black light to see the germs glow. Now go to the sink and wash your hands as you usually do.  Check your hands again under the light.  Die you wash all the germs off?  If not, trying washing them again and check once more,” she said.
The Family  Science Night ends at 8:30 p.m.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email