Santa Paula Times

Students work on their science project

Isbell students think kelp chips are OK

July 11, 2001
Santa Paula News
Students in Dave Philips seventh-grade Isbell Middle School science class learned that seaweed is not just a plant that washes up on the seashore. The students found it interesting that in addition to extensive forests of kelp that grow along the Pacific Coast providing food and shelter for an array of plants and animals, it is an ingredient in many products that they use daily. Giant kelp is harvested for algin, a chemical the kelp contains. Algin is used in paints, cosmetics, dairy foods, beverages, toothpaste, and auto polish as well as other everyday products. After extensive studying, the class began making colorful kelp beads. They put alginate in an eyedropper and dropped beads into calcium chloride. After several processes, they ended by mixing tempera paint with the alginate resulting in colored beads. Each student placed their beads into a bottle of plain water that will reserve the memory of the class indefinitely.A popular project that came from the study of kelp was the making of kelp chips. The students washed kelp, cut it into pieces, then cooked it in the microwave until the chips became crispy. Most of the students enjoyed the salty flavor.Another experiment with giant kelp was to make ice cream in a plastic bag, by adding kelp sugars that was created by mashing kelp between hands to release long chains of sugar, cream, granulated sugar, and a lot of elbow grease.