Ordinarily, I talk about how students and young people of all types and sizes adore Insta-Snow and other products and experiments featured here. However, don’t think for even a second that you have to be a child to have fun with science. It’s not just children who are fascinated by Insta-Snow. Polymer science has the power to fascinate grown men and women – sensible adults who are attending a serious conference and sharing business techniques and practices and products and advice, for example. I’ve seen it happen.
Such a time was Indianapolis’ MixWest, an annual social media conference attended by mature grownups who are extremely successful at what they do partly because they never lost the secrets of the Pan – they’re only grown up on the outside, they thoroughly enjoy life, and they share this enthusiasm and expertise with friends and clients alike. This makes them absolutely excellent at what they do, and it’s why their clients are so happy.
A few years ago at this conference, there was a slight “Incident of the Insta-Snow,” wherein grown men couldn’t wait to get home to see their polymer samples expand. It was a glorious mess! (It was Jason Bean‘s fault!) This year, we narrowly escaped another rousing incident because there were a lot of cameras pointed at us. Therefore, most of the conference attendees took their Insta-Snow sample home to share with their kids. The only one who couldn’t wait and HAD to activate it there at the conference was Douglas Karr, but nobody’s going to tell on him. It’s on film, though.
Chris Theisen took his sample home and let his son activate it. It was a hit until the boy learned that Insta-Snow shares its polymer base with disposable diapers.
There are many other MixWest attendees who managed to get their Insta-Snow sample home so their children could watch, and we’ve been promised more videos and pictures.
Until we get them, just remember that science is for everybody, young and old and in between, and that the same polymers that make a baby’s disposable diaper so useful can also be used to demonstrate the absorbency of polymers in other ways, too.
But how many people out there connect diapers with science? We’re aiming for everybody. It’s just a matter of time.
Polymer science is so absorbing.
Jane Goodwin is a professor of expository writing at Ivy Tech Community College, a hands-on science teacher for College for Kids, a professional speaker and writer, and a social media liaison for Steve Spangler Science. She wanted to be a ballerina and an astronaut, but gravity got the better of her.