Fiddlestix teaches kids science through “magic ice”

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On Wednesday, June 14, the Mint Hill Library welcomed Kristin Gibson from Fiddlestix Kids Learning.

Kristin Gibson will present with Fiddlestix at many Charlotte-area libraries this summer.

Miss Kristin presented one of her rocket science programs called “Magic Ice,” which offered kids the opportunity to learn all about the properties of dry ice and all the fun things they can do with it.

Miss Kristin began her interactive presentation by handing out ice cubes and asking her audience questions like, “How could we get the ice to melt faster?” and “As it melts, what comes out?” Next, Miss Kristin brought out a sample of dry ice, and the children noted how smoke, or gas, comes off the dry ice as it melts instead of the liquid that came off the ice cubes they held in their hands.

Fiddlestix founder Kristin Gibson showed kids how hot water turns dry ice into gas.

Miss Kristin led the students through a series of interactive demonstrations with the dry ice. After pouring hot water on it to make it melt faster, she demonstrated how dish soap can trap the ice in bubbles that create smoke when they pop. Miss Kristin encouraged the children to interact with the dry ice bubbles by touching them, blowing on them and popping them.

Parents and students in the audience go to interact with the dry ice.

“That’s the point of all my programs,” says Gibson. “To be very hands on so the kids are really engaged. They’re kind of acting like scientists, figuring things out for themselves, giving me ideas for things to try.”

Miss Kristin used simple and fun demonstrations to help kids understand complex scientific concepts. For example, she led her audience to the conclusion that the gas that comes off of dry ice is heavier than the gas in the air we breathe by demonstrating how the smoke sinks when the bubbles pop.

On of the kids’ favorite parts of Miss Kristin’s presentation was “Boo Bubbles.” Miss Kristin used a simple homemade contraption to blow tennis ball-sized dry ice bubbles that the students could hold in their gloved hands and pass around. Each child also had the the chance to come to the front of the class to see whether boo bubbles set on top of their head would stick, roll, or pop.

Kids loved seeing if the dry ice “boo bubbles” on their heads popped, stuck or rolled.

Miss Kristin’s presentation ended with a literal bang! After using dry ice to blow up a balloon, she asked her audience what would happen if they put dry ice in something that couldn’t expand. To all the children’s delight, Miss Kristin demonstrated by putting dry ice under small canisters that popped and flew up to the ceiling.

“I thought we were going to blow up the library!” said Devon Fullilove, mom to Ava. “It was awesome. All the kids loved it.”

Laura Matthews, mom to Adi and Emily, welcomed the opportunity to expose her daughters to a fun, science-based, social activity. “We unschool,” said Matthews, who homeschools her two daughters. “We don’t follow a curriculum. We follow passion, and we believe that the more exposure they get to different things, the more they can determine what their passions are.”

Miss Kristin will be visiting several other library branches this summer. You can find the complete schedule of Fiddlestix presentations on the library’s web site. Participation is usually limited to 25, so make sure you register ahead of time!

At the end of the presentation, the children got to color rockets and take home instructions for making them fly.
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Mary Beth Foster
Mary Beth Foster works part time as an essay specialist at Charlotte Latin School and full time as a mom to her five-year-old daughter Hannah and her two-year-old son Henry. Prior to having children, she worked as a high school English teacher for nine years. Most recently, she chaired the English department at Queen's Grant High School. She and her husband have lived in Mint Hill with their children and their cats since 2011. Email: