It was CHEMAPALOOZA on March 16, 2017, in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Barbe High School ChemClub and AP Chemistry students visited their feeder school, S.J. Welsh, to perform multiple experiments and demonstrations with every eighth grade science class. Approximately 400 eighth grade students had the opportunity to observe demonstrations like the Blue Bottle, Dry Ice/Density of Gases, and relighting a candle using the trail it produces after you blow it out. Barbe High School students performed all demonstrations and explained the science concepts behind each one.
In addition to the demonstrations, Barbe students led the middle school students in three hands-on lab experiments. Students rotated in 15-minute intervals between three stations that were designated Maroon, Blue, and Grey, from the school colors. Each station had one hands-on lab investigation and one demonstration. In the hands-on investigations, students learned to pipet using a pipet pump during the Vitamin C Iodine Clock experiment (a green chemistry version) and measured the rate of reaction due to changes in concentration. They learned to take electronic temperature readings using a Vernier Lab Quest for the Thermodynamics lab investigation, in which they determined if the enthalpy of solvation was exothermic or endothermic. Lastly, they performed a chemical reaction to form a gas and a precipitate, to observe some typical signs of a chemical reaction, while also learning how to tare and weigh a reactant and how to read a graduated cylinder’s meniscus.
Each eighth grader was given a cardstock Lab Report to record their data and observations from each station. Participation by all students was phenomenal. CHEMAPALOOZA was a great success and Barbe Students have been invited back next year. We hope to make CHEMAPALOOZA an annual event going forward.
This year the Newton High School ChemClub from Newton, Kansas, had a blast doing outreach activities with all 6 of our local elementary school. It took numerous trips over the course of 8 months to complete this. The kids loved it and our members had just as much fun.
Activities included demos such as elephant toothpaste. The students also tested for real fruit juice in a variety of drinks while learning about acids and bases. Some schools made instant worms with sodium alginate. The biggest hit at every school was carbon dioxide filled bubbles. Bubbles pop because of the oil in our hands so we took enough gloves for each kid. Everyone could hold and play with the bubbles.
I am writing this at the end of my first week of classes and am quite sure that many of you will have started also or will be about to start. For me, that means ChemClub activities are starting again. I have a tip about Club photo releases that I thought other Clubs might find useful.
My school (and probably most every other school in the country) requires me to send home a course outline, lab safety contract, and parent sign-off when a student checks into my class. I have now started to include my ChemClub photo release form with the course outline. Now, it is obvious that this will not reach every student that comes and participates in ChemClub activities over the course of the year, but it does reach a large number of them. It also makes it easy for me to say at our first or second meeting that if you are in my class I already have your photo release and only need them from the students who are not currently in my class.
I routinely take photographs in my classroom of students working on different activities. My district has a standard photo release every student needs to turn in since they encourage us to record our lectures for training and evaluation purposes. I know if I come across a great photo of a ChemClub activity, I no longer have to worry about securing more releases to share it, such as with other ChemClubs or my American Chemical Society local section.
It might not be the biggest idea you were looking for this year, but I hope that other Clubs will find it useful.
ACS ChemClubs come in many varieties, and in our case we are the STEAM club from Saratoga High School (SHS) in Saratoga, California. In case you have not heard the term, STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. We were engaged with lots of different science activities related to art at various events in the San Francisco Bay Area. One such example was the Family Night at the California Academy of Sciences. At the California Academy of Sciences, some 1,500 students from underprivileged schools the Bay Area were invited to enjoy an evening session full of hands-on science activities. The Academy reopened after closing hours and allowed the participants to go to every section of the Academy. The Academy was also filled with booths where children could try hands-on activities. Our SHS STEAM Club sponsored one of these booths and we were able to attract around 300 children per night at our booth!
Another science activity we participated in was a community outreach program at the Saratoga Library, which is right next to our school.At the Saratoga Children’s Library our club was able to provide three different kinds of hands-on science activities for the residents of our city.