Seventy incoming fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders are wrapping up a week of summer science at the University of Central Arkansas.

The students occupied labs, campus lawns and classrooms for the four classes offered: Of Cabbages and Chemistry, Calling All Engineers, Playful Polymers and R U Brainy?

On Wednesday, Dr. Kathy Marvin’s Playful Polymers students were creating "slime and gloop."

"We’re using polymers, and one of them is Elmer’s Glue, to make slime and gloop. Gloop is more putty-like," Marvin said.

The students used household laundry agent Borax as a "cross-linker."

"This teaches them the concept of cross-linking. One grabs onto the chain and binds with another to make a firm bond. You can play with it, stretch it and bounce it," said Marvin.

In an adjacent building, students of Dr. Tina Mankey were testing the effectiveness of the "helmets" created to protect raw eggs dropped from a few stories above a school sidewalk.

In the R U Brainy? session, students learned about the importance of protecting the human brain.

"Today we built helmets for our eggs and the eggs represent our brains. We’ve designed them to protect the brain or egg just like a bike helmet would," Mankey said. "Now we see whose egg broke and whose didn’t."

Some students used cotton, shoe boxes, foam to protect the eggs, and some employed plastic bags as parachutes.

The students later researched brain diseases and dysfunction. On Friday, the last day of the summer program, students interacted with a simulation of a brain with a disorder. Part of that lesson also included the importance of occupational therapy in treating people with brain disorders or injuries.

This was the seventh year for the program directed by Lisa Herrington and Dr. Mark Cooper.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to Send us your news at