I am writing this at the end of my first week of classes and am quite sure that many of you will have started also or will be about to start. For me, that means ChemClub activities are starting again. I have a tip about Club photo releases that I thought other Clubs might find useful.
My school (and probably most every other school in the country) requires me to send home a course outline, lab safety contract, and parent sign-off when a student checks into my class. I have now started to include my ChemClub photo release form with the course outline. Now, it is obvious that this will not reach every student that comes and participates in ChemClub activities over the course of the year, but it does reach a large number of them. It also makes it easy for me to say at our first or second meeting that if you are in my class I already have your photo release and only need them from the students who are not currently in my class.
I routinely take photographs in my classroom of students working on different activities. My district has a standard photo release every student needs to turn in since they encourage us to record our lectures for training and evaluation purposes. I know if I come across a great photo of a ChemClub activity, I no longer have to worry about securing more releases to share it, such as with other ChemClubs or my American Chemical Society local section.
It might not be the biggest idea you were looking for this year, but I hope that other Clubs will find it useful.
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.
Visitors to The Dalles Farmers Market, young and old alike, were invited to take a few minutes from their shopping for fresh produce to learn a little bit about chemistry. Our ChemClub from The Dalles, Oregon, received a ChemClub Community Activities Grant to fund hands-on activities last summer and fall at our local outdoor Saturday market. Each activity related to color in some way. Our inspiration was the National Chemistry Week 2015 theme Chemistry Colors Our World.
We offered the activities once a month, from June through October, at the markets community education booth. The five activities were:
- Nano bookmarks.Visitors made bookmarks by pulling rectangles of black posterboard through a single drop of clear fingernail polish floated on the surface of a pan of water.
- Radial chromatography.Visitors decorated squares of fabric using Sharpie markers and drops of rubbing alcohol.
- Solar S’mores.Visitors made s’mores using solar ovens made out of pizza boxes. The activity highlighted the idea that white light is made up of all the colors of the rainbow.
- Chem in a Bag.Visitors looked for clues that chemistry was happening in a bag with calcium chloride, baking soda, universal indicator, and water. They observed bubbles, a color change, and a temperature change.
- Chemeleons. Visitors painted different acids and bases onto pictures of chemeleons that had been soaked in purple cabbage juice. Depending on the pH of the solution, it resulted in a different color on the paper.
Every activity began with participants getting a safety stamp. After they listened to the brief safety rules, each person got a fruit-themed rubber stamp inked on their hand. For each of our activities that a child visited, they received an entry into an end-of-market drawing for fun science toys from Educational Innovations. We had a great time, and many people got a chance to try some summer science!