Since there are many students who see chemistry as something difficult, boring, and of no relevance to their lives, our Central Visual Arts School ChemClub participated in projects to help motivate students to learn and inquire more about chemistry in the real world.
Festival de Quimica at Central Visual Arts School
Our school celebrated the Festival with different interactive activities and demonstrations to educate others about chemistry. These activities were carried out by our ChemClub students and the American Chemical Society Student Chapter at the University of Puerto Rico−Rio Piedras Campus (ACS UPR−RP). A poster contest was also conducted in our school to promote the Festival. This year’s theme was “Chemistry Colors our World.” The contest was beneficial to high school students because they could obtain another perspective of the field of chemistry, as they used their art abilities to show the chemistry behind color. Members of the ACS UPR−RP Student Chapter collaborated by serving as contest judges. They evaluated the posters, taking into account artistic and creative elements, chemistry and science content, and relevance of each design to the Festival theme.
Some of the presented posters are shown.
Festival de Quimica at El Paseo la Princesa
Our students also worked at the Festival de Quimica held at El Paseo la Princesa in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in October 2015 and April 2016. The October Festival had the National Chemistry Week theme “Chemistry Colors Our World” and the April Festival had the Chemists Celebrate Earth Day theme “Our Home’s Ecosystem.” It gave participants chances to explore how chemistry and other sciences are present in our lives.
Magic of Chemistry Shows
Our ChemClub members worked hard to identify schools where they should conduct chemistry demonstration sh
ows, using materials from our everyday lives. The ACS UPR−RP Student Chapter helped us organize the shows and the demonstrations. The audiences were diverse, including students from elementary to high school levels. We also collected data about what the audiences thought about chemistry before and after the event, and whether they thought they would share chemistry with others.
These activities gave ChemClub students opportunities to develop their chemistry skills, become better leaders, and motivate other students to be part of the incredible world of chemistry. We thank the ACS ChemClub program for its support.
The American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) officially launched in September. As a ChemClub advisor, you can further supplement your students’ chemistry experiences by joining for the annual fee of only $50, and preservice teachers can join at the discounted price of $25.
Some member benefits include being part of a community of K–12 teachers of chemistry, access to high-quality resources, and subscriptions to the ACS publication ChemMatters and the new AACT online periodical Chemistry Solutions, which is written by and for teachers of chemistry.
AACT’s website has collections of original multimedia that may be of interest to ChemClubs. AACT partnered with New York Times bestseller Sam Kean to bring his book “The Disappearing Spoon” to life—each short video in the series features Sam narrating a story inspired by his book about various elements.
There is also a series of videos about the founders of chemistry: Learn about Mendeleev’s journey to assemble the periodic table, the ancient chemists who paved the road for what chemistry is today, the first female Nobel Laureate Marie Curie’s life story, and others.
One mission of ChemClubs is to provide students with fun, authentic, and hands-on opportunities. The library of classroom resources on AACT’s site includes lessons from teachers across the country and around the world. Peruse the collection and try some of the demonstrations with your club members. Safety precautions in each lesson are outlined in detail, so if you have an outreach program, you can gauge right away whether the activity is appropriate for your students to run, or whether it should be facilitated by an instructor. AACT has a number of lessons that are designed for student-to-student interactions, including this cabbage activity. And if you have a great activity you’ve done with a club, you can submit it to the AACT library, and AACT will credit your ChemClub with its contribution.
In each issue of Chemistry Solutions there is a column called Chemistry Fun! In the September issue, the column featured pictograms of phrases that were puns of chemistry concepts. For example, what is this? Your club members may get a kick out of activities included in this column.
You can subscribe to AACT email updates by completing the “Stay in Touch” field in the footer of teachchemistry.org. Or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest for other news and information from AACT. We are excited to be part of the K–12 chemistry community, so share with us ideas you have by emailing AACT@acs.org.