Family Science Night

Our ACS ChemClub (Buena Science League) at Buena High School in Ventura, California, has developed an exciting outreach program for local elementary and middle schools. We travel to the local middle schools and spend the day presenting demonstrations to their science classes. In a day, we typically see six classes, with about thirty students per class. Depending on how we travel to the middle school, we take seven to twelve Science League student demonstrators. We also host an annual Science Show for elementary students in our large auditorium, usually presenting three 40 to 45 minute shows to an audience of 200 students per show.

We also host themed Family Science Nights each quarter for elementary and middle school families. We arrange demonstrations for viewing and hands-on activities for participation. We try to choose demonstrations and activities that relate to the chosen theme. Fourth through eighth grade students attend for an hour and a half in the early evening. About 30 students came to the last one, with a superhero theme. We have about 15 students participating from the high school, and they are pretty committed to the events. Their responsibilities are to learn how to perform specific demonstrations safely and to explain the underlying science.

Fermi Questions: Back of the Envelope Calculations

The Art of Estimation
When I was in high school, in the days before electronic calculators were available, we learned how to use mechanical slide rules (see ChemMatters, April 2004, p.4) for our calculations. While they were great for getting a good answer to math problems, they didn’t keep track of the decimal place. That had to be done by keeping track of an order of magnitude estimate of the answer. Continue reading “Fermi Questions: Back of the Envelope Calculations”

Happy Mole Day

The Union Homeschool ChemClub in Union, New Jersey, made it a fun Mole Day celebration in 2016. With the ChemClub Periodic Table of Moles nearby and a stuffed ACS mole watching over the event (see photo), they started by calculating the molar mass of several chemicals and then prepared different molar concentrations of sucrose, sodium chloride, and magnesium sulfate solutions. After adding their chalk artwork to the sidewalk, they calculated how many moles of chalk they left on the sidewalk. Then they were given a mole of four different metals and had to use their chemistry skills to identify each one. They topped off the celebration by making delicious sugar cookies that spelled out “Happy Mole Day” (see photo).

Pleasant View School’s 2015-2016 Activities

Our Pleasant View School ACS ChemClub has been very active this year. Our club activities are designed to help achieve our school’s goal in science to “foster an understanding and appreciation of the scientific method.” We were able to do this over the course of the year with a variety of activities, including hosting a Science Expo, and organizing field trips to help clean up the shores of the Mississippi river in Memphis, and a visit to our local wastewater treatment plant.

Science Expo

Last January, Pleasant View School’s ChemClub in Memphis, Tennessee, opened the gym to pre-kindergarten through eighth grade students to display their Science Expo. A variety of science experiments were laid out: dry ice bubbles, milk fireworks, and an explosive volcano to name just a few. You can try similar experiments yourself take a look at Boo Bubbles and Interactive Colors in Milk. The electric energy of excited students and creative projects helped ensure that chemistry remains a subject that will continue to attract students for years to come. Continue reading “Pleasant View School’s 2015-2016 Activities”

The Martian Virtual Book Club

You’re stranded.

Not much to eat. You’re injured. Someone took your ride. No way to contact someone to come pick you up. No one else around.

What next?

Oh, has anyone mentioned that you’re on Mars?

Share character Mark Watney’s experience as he fights for survival in Andy Weir’s book The Martian. Will he be able to survive? How can he use science to solve his problems?

Continue reading “The Martian Virtual Book Club”