The Homeschools of Centre County Chem Club currently has 8 members spanning first through sixth grade. The kids have thoroughly enjoyed diving into Chemistry and learning about observing clues for chemical changes in the lab and in the world around us.
So far they have learned about 4 clues that a chemical change has taken place:
The production of gas
A color change
The formation of a precipitate
The kids especially enjoyed the challenge of conducting an exothermic reaction that reached a temperature result of 40 – 50 degrees Celsius! During one of our meetings, the kids were able to use the purification packet to see the transformation from dirty water to clean water, while also observing the formation of a precipitate, our 3rd “clue” for a chemical change.
The Homeschools of Centre County ChemClub were very enthusiastic about collecting pennies for such an important cause as providing safe drinking water for children around the world. They emptied their piggy banks and even exchanged dollar bills for rolls of pennies at the local bank! With such a plethora of pennies to experiment with, they discovered what pennies are made of underneath their copper coating by sanding off some of the coating and submerging the penny in hydrochloric acid. They observed the acid reacting with the zinc inside it until the penny was hollow and paper thin! They also tested water’s “skin” by placing drops of water on the surface of a penny, and then doing the same procedure with water mixed with dish detergent and noting that plain water has a much stronger “skin” or surface tension.
Thank you to the ACS for encouraging us not only to expand our knowledge about chemistry but also taking action locally and globally to help others. One member said, “It was neat to see how something small like pennies add up to take care of something big – like clean water!”
When the Katy High School Science Olympiad/ChemClub decided to participate in the ACS Coins for Cleaner Water project our first goal was to achieve higher than the $10 average that would be needed by all clubs to raise the $5000. We have, at our school, had successful drives in the past, but the most successful have always involved a prize. So we made it a contest in the science department. Our hope was to raise about $700 – $800.
Students in the club prepared recycled water and soft drink bottles by decorating them with each teacher’s name and class period. We then sent out an explanation to the science teachers about 4 days before the drive began. Bottles were delivered Friday afternoon and Monday morning before the drive began. We sent out a 2nd email to the teachers with a script to read and a link to the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Foundation video, so they could share it with their students. The drive was for one week only; some teachers passed the bottles every day, some displayed them in a highly visible location we left it up to the individual teachers.
At the end of the week, we collected the bottles and counted the coins and bills, keeping track of each class. It was messy, dirty, and heavy. One student actually borrowed a cart from the library to move the bottles because he had so much to carry – kudos for common sense!
The class with the largest individual collection brought in $284 and they, of course, won the prize which is a dry ice demo show. We were very excited and proud to send our check for $2,223. A teacher was absent and $26 wasn’t included in the check.
The Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart chapter of ChemClub joined the “Coins for Cleaner Water Initiative” and raised almost $500, towards the ACS ChemClub goal of $5,000, through a sale of “Periodic Table Cupcakes” at the annual Science Fair.
Members of the ChemClub also set up a demonstration table to educate Science Fair participants, judges, and families to the global impact of unsafe water wherein water-borne diseases kill more children than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined. The chemistry students demonstrated how one water purification packet changes deadly water into drinkable water.
The ChemClub demonstration of the purification packet showed how quickly dirty water can be purified. Club members filled a one-liter Erlenmeyer flask with pond water then sprinkled fine dirt from school grounds into the beaker. After adding the contents of the purification packet to the flask, they vigorously stirred the water. The contents of the packet acted like a magnet, coagulating the dirt and contaminants while simultaneously chlorinating the water. Fifteen minutes later, the floc sank to the bottom of the Erlenmeyer flask and the water looked clear. Club members then poured the disinfected water through a filter to make it available to drink.
The Newton Country Day ChemClub raised funds to provide the Cleaner Water Initiative 11,428 water purification packets which will clean 28,570 gallons of water, enough for fourteen families in developing nations to enjoy clean water and protective health benefits for a year.
Fresh clean water—seemingly accessible and plentiful as the air we breathe. Whenever we need it, it streams freely from the faucets into our homes or is available in plastic bottles. It may be difficult to imagine that more than 1 billion people don’t have access to clean water. It is distressing that every day more than 4,000 children die from diseases caused by contaminated drinking water.
In an effort to deliver clean drinkable water to those without, ACS has partnered with Procter and Gamble (P&G) to purchase water purifier packets. P&G, in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, developed a low-cost technology in the form of water purification packets that can be used to turn potentially heavily contaminated water into clean and safe drinking water. These packets are being distributed through theChildren’s Safe Drinking Water(CSDW) foundation.
Each 4-gram packet treats 10 liters of water similar to the water treatment process used in municipal water systems. The active ingredients in these packets are calcium hypochlorite as a disinfectant and ferric sulfate as a coagulant. As the result of this treatment, even heavily contaminated water meets World Health Organization standards for safe drinking water. See the packets in action on theCSDW website.
TheChemMatters videobelow shows how water is treated at a Wastewater Treatment Plant, which treats a whopping 370 million gallons of sewage a day!
So what are ChemClubs doing to help?
This year, ChemClubs will reach out to their community with fundraising events to raise money and awareness of the significance of clean water.
Our goal is to raise $5,000(with over 500 clubs—less than $10 per club!)to purify 500,000 liters (over 132,000 gallons) which means clean water for over 650 children for a year.
Watch the thermometer rise as donations are received. The ChemClubs are making a difference in the world with chemistry!
Water. We can’t survive without it, yet something that we take for granted is the difference between life and death in many African countries.
The East Syracuse-Minoa (ESM) ChemClub is taking an active role in trying to make a difference, one liter at a time. Their goal is to raise money and awareness for water. The club, advised by chemistry teachers Katherine Mittiga and Sally Mitchell, has already raised $100 for the cause.
“We are planning on collecting loose change from students in a jar in my room. We are thinking about a fundraiser selling glass water bottles, while trying to make people aware of our precious water supply,” said Mitchell.
One of ESM’s recent water projects was an Otisco Lake clean-up in October. Students took water samples for testing and cleaned a section of the lakeshore. “The theme for our upcoming Earth Day events is water,” explained Mitchell. “Our students are preparing a PSA about cleaner water which will be on YouTube.”
The ESM ChemClub has reached out to help new clubs, such as Bishop Ludden High School ChemClub, to get them involved. The Bishop Ludden ChemClub is considering getting in on the action and raising money by having a dress-down day, where students pay one dollar to wear something other than their uniform. Bishop Ludden has also joined the ESM ChemClub in events including Spooktacular, a canned food drive to aid Food Bank of Central New York, “Nanotechnology: The Smallest BIG Idea in Science” at Destiny USA to celebrate National Chemistry Week, and a Tour of the CNY Biotech Center.