Members of the Westside High School Academic Science Demonstration Chemistry Club spent 2 months during the fall semester and 2 months during the spring semester of the 2016-17 school year planning and organizing our “Morning of Chemistry” days. Once our preparation and planning was complete we presented two morning sessions to the students at Askew Elementary School. During each morning session, students learned about electric circuits, heat transfer, pressure and temperature relationships, combustion, polymers, and chemical reactions via a series of demonstrations and hands-on activities. Students were even allowed to take home a few “souvenirs” that resulted from the activities of the day!
Because science is important in many aspects of life, it’s important to get students interested early and keep them interested throughout middle school, high school, and life after graduation. The Westside High School chemistry club hopes to create citizen scientists one demo day at a time, and with the positive feedback from our first presentations, we plan to continue these “Mornings of Chemistry” next school year.
J. Sanchez and A. Hossain from Askew Elementary in Houston, TX assist with the blue bottle demonstration.
Ruth Ferron teaches J. Rivera, Y. Abdulredha, A. Al kHafajy, and J. Adam about endothermic reactions.
Alyssa Rodriguez teaches C. Rodriguez, K. Maya, and H. Abujaber about circuits.
Joseph Carpman shows T. Lee-Rose a penny that was first turned silver and then gold.
S. Pavon, and A. Echami watching the “Magnesium Ribbon” demonstration performed by Jim Zhang.
(counter clockwise) Carlos Espinal and Xander Ly teach Y. Rivera, S. Pavon, S. Sanchez, J. Rios, C. Dapron, and L. Carter about circuits
Visitors to The Dalles Farmers Market, young and old alike, were invited to take a few minutes from their shopping for fresh produce to learn a little bit about chemistry. Our ChemClub from The Dalles, Oregon, received a ChemClub Community Activities Grant to fund hands-on activities last summer and fall at our local outdoor Saturday market. Each activity related to color in some way. Our inspiration was the National Chemistry Week 2015 theme Chemistry Colors Our World.
We offered the activities once a month, from June through October, at the markets community education booth. The five activities were:
Nano bookmarks.Visitors made bookmarks by pulling rectangles of black posterboard through a single drop of clear fingernail polish floated on the surface of a pan of water.
Radial chromatography.Visitors decorated squares of fabric using Sharpie markers and drops of rubbing alcohol.
Solar S’mores.Visitors made s’mores using solar ovens made out of pizza boxes. The activity highlighted the idea that white light is made up of all the colors of the rainbow.
Chem in a Bag.Visitors looked for clues that chemistry was happening in a bag with calcium chloride, baking soda, universal indicator, and water. They observed bubbles, a color change, and a temperature change.
Chemeleons. Visitors painted different acids and bases onto pictures of chemeleons that had been soaked in purple cabbage juice. Depending on the pH of the solution, it resulted in a different color on the paper.
Every activity began with participants getting a safety stamp. After they listened to the brief safety rules, each person got a fruit-themed rubber stamp inked on their hand. For each of our activities that a child visited, they received an entry into an end-of-market drawing for fun science toys from Educational Innovations. We had a great time, and many people got a chance to try some summer science!
ChemClub members, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, and AP Physics students from Barbe High School in Lake Charles, Louisiana, explored the Sci-Port Discovery Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, in February 2016. Thanks to an ACS ChemClub Community Activities Grant and contributions from other sources, the students were able to take a Hotard Charter bus for the 3 1/2 hour trip to Shreveport. Students had the opportunity to explore hands-on activities for life science, environmental science, mathematics, astronomy, physics and of course, chemistry! Sci-Port has hundreds of different activities, exhibits, demonstrations, and simulators that allow visitors to exploreat their own pace.
Want to submit an application for a ChemClub Community Activity Grant before June 1, but don’t have a project idea? Or, is your Club simply looking for something new to try? Why not turn STEM into STEAM? Fusion Science Theater (FST) takes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education to a new creative level by adding the Arts. The Fusion Science Theater website describes FST as a STEAM outreach program that uses the secrets of theater to create outreach shows that actively engage children in learning science. They’re short, interactive shows that weave demonstrations together with predictions, modeling, and a storyline, targeted for an audience of grades 1 through 5.
How can you bring this program to your area? Apply for a Community Activity Grant to purchase a FST show performance kit! The kit will give your Club everything they need to perform the show in your community. The kits include a show script, video of a live performance of the show, list of materials and props you’ll need, a handbook for training and performance tips, and even instructions on how to assess learning achieved during the show.
If I Were an Atom to explore kinetic molecular theory and how atoms move in the solid phase. Watch a video preview.
Bouncemania! with a “Wrestlemania”-style match between happy & sad toy balls to learn about polymers and molecular structure. Who will be crowned “The World’s Bounciest Ball”? Watch a video preview.
Will It Light? to test and model the flow of electricity through different substances, as students investigate conductivity. Watch a video preview.
FST shows are more than just sharing your typical demos. They are inquiry-based. Show characters lead students to investigate a question that motivates the audience to learn a basic chemical concept. The shows are highly interactive. Audience members get to assist on stage, vote for their prediction of what will happen in a demonstration, and more. It’s easy to measure the impact and learning using assessment info included in the kit. The theater techniques and elements used are a great way to keep your audience’s attention.
For more information, download a PDF of the FST flier that was also included in a recent ACS ChemClub resource packet.
April 1 (no fooling) marks the start of the annual grant application cycle for the ACS ChemClub Community Activities Grants. It’s a great way for Clubs to fund activities that share chemistry in some way with those around them. Clubs have done things like perform a demo extravaganza, do hands-on activities at a local library, start a recycling program at their school, and tons more.
Clubs have until June 1 to submit applications. Clubs that are awarded grants will receive the money to use during the 2014–2015 school year. Chartered ChemClubs can receive up to $300 for activities done by their own Club, or up to $500 for activities together with an ACS college-level chapter or an ACS Local Section.
Everything you need to know to get started is at the ChemClub Community Activities Grants page. There’s even a grant writing worksheet and grant checklist to use for your planning, with questions you’ll need to answer on the application. Applications can be written by Club advisors or Club members (in consultation with the advisor).
For even more help, ACS staff recently offered the webinar “Write Your Way to Success: Grant Writing Strategies for You and Your Chemistry Students.” Watch for the webinar (coming soon!) on the ChemClub page—it has tips that will take you from coming up with a great idea, to telling your story about it in the proposal, to applying, then hopefully celebrating your successful application and carrying out your plan.
What are ways that you’d like to share chemistry with your community? The money to do it can be there for your Club. No joke!