HOUSTON Some students at a Katy Independent School District Title I elementary school are loving their lab time, thanks to a teacher known as the Mad Scientist.

Robert French is a colorful character in a white lab coat who has the ability to mesmerize and mold young minds at Morton Ranch Elementary school.

There s a lot of pops, colors, explosions and bursts of gas, and that kind of thing in our science lab, said Principal Deb Hubbel.

French is a retired scientist, once based out of Baylor College of Medicine, who has turned into a part-time teacher who puts in full-time hours.

I only get paid for two-and-a-half days, but I m here all the time because it leaves an impression on kids, he said.

His work and wardrobe doesn t go unnoticed by students or staff.

He is a very colorful character on campus, and he s known to dress up often, Hubbel said.

He does anything to make science more interesting and fun. French also hosts a bi-weekly drawing for student-sized lab coats.

The children just have to submit a science fact, or tidbit, and he randomly picks a winner.

The first time that the TEA tested our science for our school, (we) came out low in science at the fifth-grade level. That was immediately brought to our attention, Hubbel said.

So the school took action. Few elementary school campuses have a standalone lab and staff. Morton Ranch used Title I funds to build a lab and staff so that students, as early as pre-k, can conduct experiments.

They aren t tested in science until the fifth grade. So we ll see the benefits, testing wise, of Robert s students in a few years down the line. But we absolutely know he makes a difference every day, Hubbel said.

Mostly because he makes it memorable.

It s those wow experiments and experiences that they take on through the rest of their life, French said.

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