X-Beauty: Green Chemistry Campaign

Korea International School, Jeju ChemClub

Greetings from ChemClub at Korea International School in Jeju, South Korea! Our ChemClub was created more than a year ago, but this is the first time sharing our news.

X-Beauty: Green Chemistry was the focus of an event on November 19, 2014. Our Club invited a certified cosmetician to speak to the group about “Jeju Green Tea: Healing & Beauty Ingredients.” After learning about Jeju green tea as an ingredient, students made their own green tea hand cream with eco-friendly ingredients.

Why green tea?

Components of green tea include polyphenols, which are well-known antioxidants. Most of these polyphenols are classified as catechins. They are thought to help retard skin’s aging and protect skin from sun exposure. Green tea has been used as an ingredient in anti-aging products as well as sunscreen skin products.

Make your own!

The ingredients and directions we used for the hand cream are below.

Ingredient Amount (makes 80 g)
Green tea oil 6 g
Olive oil (organic) 15 g
Vitamin E 1 g
Cetearyl olivate (or sorbitan olivate) 2.3 g
Cetyl alcohol 0.5 g
Water 30 g
Jeju green tea hydrosol 20 g
Glycerin 2 g
Ceramide 2 g
Rose geranium essential oil 5 drops
Naturotics 2 g


  1. Clean and sterilize instruments and containers.
  2. Measure green tea oil, olive oil, vitamin E, cetearyl olivate, and cetyl alcohol into beaker A.
  3. Measure water and Jeju green tea hydrosol into beaker B.
  4. Heat beaker B on a hot plate to 70–75 degrees C.
  5. Heat beaker A on a hot plate to 70–75 degrees C.
  6. When both beakers A and B reach 70–75 degrees, pour contents of beaker B into beaker A to emulsify.
  7. When the temperature of mixture decreases to 50 degrees C, add glycerin, ceramide, rose geranium essential oil, Naturotics and stir well.
  8. Pour contents into sterilized containers.


When stirring ingredients, it is suggested to stir with consistent motion in one direction.

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That One Student


The first group of kids just left the building, and I wait patiently for the next group of second and third graders to enter. It’s a chance to think, a chance to reflect on what I’ve attempted to teach and how the kids reacted. I oftentimes wonder if anything that I say is transferred, if any of the students understand.

Maybe I could have worded that better.

This thought always races through my head, as I’m constantly looking for a better way to teach to reach more kids. I change my wording this time. Better?

I still see blank stares during the discussion of the actual science, but I always see their excitement when I do a demonstration. Perhaps I need to be more hands on, to have more instructive visual aids.

I grab different materials, try a different order, and ask new questions. Nothing seems to convey the science well enough. I still see wandering eyes and fumbling hands, but I keep going.

As I await the third group, some feelings of inadequacy take over. Am I a good teacher? Maybe I don’t know the concepts as well as I thought. Before I have a chance to mull it over, the gym doors open.

This round something changes. It’s not my wording or the demonstration. A single third grade girl changes my perspective. As she walks to my booth, her eyes scan the items. She seems very excited like the rest, but something about her is different.

As I begin my demonstration, I start to see the differences. Her eyes are attentive, and she’s excited—even during my explanations. She tries to answer every question, but only after giving it some thought rather than just blurting out something. And at the end of the five minutes as the air horn sounds, she stays to ask a question, a question that indicates her attentiveness. She obviously learned something, and she is inquisitive enough to allow that to impact her.

The Carnival closes. As I walk outside, I wonder if what I did was worth it. Did it truly impact any of the kids? I think of that girl. Maybe this is what being a teacher is all about—that one student with the drive to learn that inspires you to keep going, to teach to reach more.


3rd Grade Students Learn About the Chemistry of Polymers

ACES team: Cameron, Kyle, Seth, Christian, Kyle, Mike, Brandon, Madison and Ashley

ACES team: Cameron, Kyle, Seth, Christian, Kyle, Mike, Brandon, Madison and Ashley

In Fall 2014, Tanque Verde High School ChemClub members had an opportunity to work with 3rd grade students in our school district presenting activities about polymers provided by the American Chemical Society. We were assigned to a specific 3rd grade teacher at two elementary schools in Tucson, Ariz. (Aqua Caliente Elementary School and Tanque Verde Elementary School). For some of our veteran ChemClub members it was a second chance to work with elementary school kids.

It took us two weeks to build kits for the students to use during the outreach, as well as to practice our presentation. Most of the ideas were from the “Jiggle Gels” guide, but we included an activity to illustrate cross-linking and expanded the demo to show the making of artificial snow.

TVHS_9Everyone was expecting us at the elementary schools. Kids were very excited seeing us with the boxes full of materials and could not wait for us to start. In all of the excitement, lots of water got spilled on the tables. Luckily we were prepared and brought additional supplies with us!

Sodium Polyacrylate Polymer

Kids were completely stunned by the first demonstration where the water poured into a series of cups seemed to disappear when the cups were inverted. The students were even more interested in this demo when we showed them how properties of sodium polyacrylate polymer made this possible. It was a very good opening to the outreach presentation because this demo caught the students’ attention and made them want to experiment with that substance.

They really liked working with pipets and studying the properties of the sodium polyacrylate polymer.

Artificial Snow

TVHS_12For our next demo, we made artificial snow. That was a big hit! Everyone was fascinated with it, many saying things like “Wow! It even feels cold and wet like snow” and one student even tried to make off with a handful of the snow before we caught him.


Distributing the Gro-Dinosaurs for a graphing activity was a good break for the kids because they could remove their goggles for a while. But no one complained when we told them to put the goggles back on. They were so excited to make slime!

Super Slime

For the Super Slime activity most of students handled the pipet and borax solutions very well and had no trouble deciding quickly who would stir and who would add the solution. They loved the slime they had created and we could barely get some of them to divide it and store it in plastic bags so they could take it home later.

Cross-Linking Activity

To help 3rd graders to understand how slime is made, we had a cross-linking activity. We had volunteers to wear green tags with “X-link” written on them. All other students made chains by holding hands, and the kids with the cross-link tags were grabbing to the chains.


Water, Pencils and a Plastic Bag

During the final demo we compared two plastic bags made of different polymers. Kids couldn’t believe that the PVA plastic was dissolving in water. Then we put water into a regular plastic bag to show them that it had different properties. We did this by poking sharp pencils into the bag, but this plastic is so elastic the holes made by the pencils didn’t leak. I had to refrain from laughing when almost every single kid flinched as the presenter stabbed the first pencil through the water filled bag. To be completely honest, I was actually silently praying that the bag wouldn’t rip and spill all over the floor. By the looks of him, the student presenting this was thinking the same thing.


Our students reacted enthusiastically to every part of our presentation, and their comments were the best part of the day. We kept the students engaged with jokes and hands-on demonstrations, both of which they loved. One student cheered “You guys are the most awesome people! You do all the cool stuff!” and another proclaimed “I love chemistry!” I am particularly fond of the second comment, because the girl and many of her peers were taking a genuine interest in chemistry. When we asked “Do you guys want to know how slime works?” the class shouted their approval. The participation was amazing. Whenever we asked a question, nearly everyone raised his or her hand with a grin and enthusiastic expressions. Even as their eagerness peaked, they remained respectful and followed our directions. We kept things interesting, and they did not dare turn away from us because they truly wanted to do more, and know more about what they were doing. Even beyond that, they wanted us to come back because they wanted to know even more about chemistry and what we could do with it.

TVHS_6My favorite part of this activity was working with the students and being able to see their reactions. One student even asked me an in-depth question about the workings of chemistry, which was very exciting to see in someone so young. I loved being able to see how enthusiastic these young students were about learning about chemistry.

During the cleanup, one of the boys walked up to me and asked “Are you going to be here every day?” I was caught off guard and had to ask “Do you mean for the rest of the year?” He nodded eagerly and I, myself, was disappointed to tell him we weren’t. After he sat at his desk a girl came up to me and said “I hope you come back next year! This is really fun.” I couldn’t help but grin and assured her that we’d be back.

I have discovered that third-graders can be surprising in what they do and do not know, so presenters should be prepared for both insights and unexpected questions. I’ve had a great time and could see the enjoyment in the kids. I hope that one day, they follow with the foundations we laid for them and join the ChemClub themselves!

TVES team: Madisyn, Casey, Christa, Steven, Alexa, Eddie, Sean, Tim and Alec

TVES team: Madisyn, Casey, Christa, Steven, Alexa, Eddie, Sean, Tim and Alec