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.
Alyssa Rodriguez teaches C. Rodriguez, K. Maya, and H. Abujaber about circuits.
Ruth Ferron teaches J. Rivera, Y. Abdulredha, A. Al kHafajy, and J. Adam about endothermic reactions.
(counter clockwise) Carlos Espinal and Xander Ly teach Y. Rivera, S. Pavon, S. Sanchez, J. Rios, C. Dapron, and L. Carter about circuits
Joseph Carpman shows T. Lee-Rose a penny that was first turned silver and then gold.
S. Pavon, and A. Echami watching the “Magnesium Ribbon” demonstration performed by Jim Zhang.
J. Sanchez and A. Hossain from Askew Elementary in Houston, TX assist with the blue bottle demonstration.
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.
The Vineland High School ChemClub in Vineland, NJ, performed three chemical demonstration shows called, “Wizardry 101”,during the 2015-2016 school year. Each of the student “wizards” had to practice and perfect the performance of their demonstration and write their own scientific explanation for the phenomenon before being granted a position in the show.
The first show was in auditorium for 300 sixth graders at Petway Elementary School. Twenty chemistry students performed 15 demonstrations and gave scientific explanations of how each one worked. The demonstrations were arranged in order of their state of matter, liquids, solutions, gases, and heat. Continue reading “Wizardry 101 Three Shows”
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.