BRITT | West Hancock third- and fourth-graders are learning about the science behind treats such as Pop Rocks and ice cream.
The latest After School Kids Club, sponsored by Hancock County Extension, is called Edible Science.
The eight-week session began Jan. 16. The children meet once a week at West Hancock Elementary.
Third-grader Sophie Aitchison signed up for the session because she likes science.
"It's not like just plain science," she said. "You get to eat during the lesson."
Their first experiment was with Pop Rocks.
The children didn't just eat the candy, but also learned it pops and sizzles when they put it in their mouths because the carbon dioxide trapped in tiny bubbles is released when the Pop Rocks make contact with liquid -- including saliva.
The students also learned problem-solving and teamwork by following clues to figure out the right combinations to a series of locks.
When they finally got the lock box open, they found candy canes inside.
In upcoming weeks, the children will learn about the science behind rock candy, cheese and ice cream.
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Nikki Renner, youth enrichment coordinator with Iowa State University Extension, said she hopes the session will result in the kids gaining a greater appreciation of what they eat and realizing "science is in everything."
In past After School Kids Clubs, children have learned about the science behind music; kitchen science, which included making slime; and forensic science.
Fourth-grader Claire Hiscocks said she wanted to participate in the latest After School Kids Club because "a lot of the other ones were really fun."
"Food and science are my favorite things," she added.