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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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.