ChemClub Tip: Photo Releases

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.

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Saratoga Club Picks UP STEAM

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.

Thanks to a ChemClub Community Activities Grant from the American Chemical Society (ACS), students at Saratoga High School were able actively engage in teaching and learning science in our community. We thank ACS for the grant that allowed us to explore such these of opportunities in our community.

Thanks,
The SHS STEAM Club

ChemMatters Infographic: Why Bacon Smells So Good

Why bacon smells so goodBacon and eggs. A bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. Bacon crumbles sprinkled over roasted Brussels sprouts. Even a doughnut topped with maple icing and, you may have guessed, bacon. Hungry yet? These are all food items that have one time or another been on my menu. The common thread, of course, is the crispy, tasty addition of bacon. How does bacon go from its initial properties and appearance to the flavorful, delicious cooked product that many of us love to eat? Continue reading ChemMatters Infographic: Why Bacon Smells So Good”

Morning of Chemistry: An ACS ChemClub Community Activity Grant

Science is pretty cool, especially when you get to teach it using demonstrations and hands-on experiments. Thanks to a ChemClub Community Activities Grant from the American Chemical Society (ACS), students from Westside High School in Houston, Texas were able to show the 5th grade students at Askew Elementary School just how exciting chemistry can be.

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.

A Real-Life Mission to Mars

This poster outlines the major phases of the exploration of Mars.

While reading The Martian, our ACS ChemClub book study selection, it amazes me how real the story seems, even though we know humans have yet to travel to the Red Planet. But after reading the book you may have wondered how likely it is for a real mission to take place, rather that the fictional Ares Program in The Martian.

It turns out NASA is already developing the capabilities needed to send humans Mars in the 2030’s, a goal outlined in the bipartisan NASA Authorization Act of 2010 and in the U.S. National Space Policy, also issued in 2010. And it is not just NASA doing the planning, they are also working with commercial and international partners to create the Global Exploration Roadmap, which lays out a shared vision for coordinated human and robotic exploration of our solar system. In March 2017, the president of the U.S. signed a new law authorizing a manned NASA mission to Mars.

The plans for exploring are complex and have many steps, but two big pieces of technology include NASA’s powerful Space Launch System rocket and Orion, a new generation spacecraft designed to carry astronauts into deep space.

The Orion Spacecraft will carry a crew of four. It is capable of missions as near as orbits around the earth to as far as Mars and beyond. Orion will have multiple uses, from transporting crew and supplies to the International Space Station to exploring deep space. NASA’s current goal is to have Orion operational by 2021.

Space Launch System will be the most powerful rocket ever.

The Space Launch System is classified as a super-heavy launch lift vehicle. It initially will be able to carry 70 metric tons of payload into Earth orbit. Upgrades in years to follow will double this capacity. The first version is scheduled to launch in 2018.

This NASA poster is one of several promoting a future mission to Mars.

The next step in going to Mars is to build the Deep Space Gateway and the Deep Space Transport. The Deep Space gateway will be like a small version of the International Space Station but will orbit around the moon. This will serve as an assembly station and rest stop for astronauts headed for Mars. It will have several docking ports and room to amass supplies and equipment.

The Deep Space Transport is a reusable spacecraft that will be stationed at the Gateway and will depart from there. After traveling to Mars it will return to the gateway for service and refitting and another mission. Other than landing humans on the surface of Mars and returning them safely, other details of the first mission to Mars are still in development.

And if you still think this sounds like science-fiction, consider that NASA has designed a series of posters to recruit the next generation of deep space voyagers! Although they are not quite ready to accept applications, they are definitely getting the word out that the future is real.

If you have any comments or questions about plans to travel to Mars, share your thoughts with us in the comment section and on Facebook or Twitter using #ACSChemClubBook.

Don’t forget, about the resource packet for the ChemClub Virtual Book Club, including the two contests that are still open: