CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – This is a tale of two science experiments.
Teacher Kimberly Reinken of the YMCA YScholars program for home-schoolers recently showed her class how vinegar reacts with baking soda to create carbon dioxide.
“So what’s all up in here now?” she said, holding up a plastic bottle with a balloon attached.
Spoiler alert: this experience is always a “gas” for the kids.
“It’s fun, and it’s exciting, because a lot of times when you think of science it’s, ‘Ugh, it’s so boring, I don’t want to do it,’” Reinken told Queen City News.
Now, the other experiment involves Kimberly’s son, Josiah, who is his mom’s teaching assistant, and already has an impressive resume. Over the summer, he was one of just two North Carolina students to compete in the National Science Bee.
More on that competition later, but let’s return to the experiment at hand.
The YScholars class is not his first chemical reaction rodeo, because he’ll try just about anything in the name of science.
“I like learning new things,” says Josiah.
“So, I suggested the idea of him coming alongside, and teaching the math and science class, since he has such a passion about science,” Kimberly explained.
At home, when he’s not feeding lettuce to his pet rabbit Nibbles, Josiah’s hungry for knowledge.
“Biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy,” he lists, showing off his collection of textbooks.
Throw in a “periodic table” throw blanket and you have all the elements for a science buff.
“I wanted to be a scientist, then I wanted to be a biologist, and then I decided I wanted to be a doctor,” said Josiah.
So there was perhaps a future doctor in the house earlier this year at the National Science Bee, where he was a quarterfinalist in the fourth grade and under division of the buzzer-based competition.
“’Are these really the science questions you’re doing?’ And everybody was like, ‘Yes,’” Josiah said.
He also aced two written exams in biology and physical science, earning a pair of national champion plaques.
“It just makes me excited that we found his little niche,” Kimberly says.
For the grand finale, we go back to the baking soda-vinegar mix.
“Alright, for our next thing, we are going to make rockets,” Josiah told his students, before watching bottles soar to the delight of everyone watching.
Life’s a journey of trial and error, much like science.
“I’m just wondering, will it work, will it not?” he asks himself frequently.
Even when a launch fails, the assistant is in his wheelhouse.
“It just gives him an opportunity to just spread that joy, and the joy he has of science, with others,” said his mother.
Josiah the science guy’s confidence has taken off because finding a source of identity can be like rocket fuel.