Chemapalooza

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.

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Newton HS Community Activities Grant Fills the Year

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.

Thanks to a ChemClub Community Activities Grant from the American Chemical Society(ACS), students from Newton High School were able to show many elementary school students just how exciting chemistry can be. We look forward to continuing this outreach next year too.

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

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: