University School of Jackson’s 2 Big Activities This Year!

We were brainstorming about how to get the students interested in REALLY supporting the Coins for Cleaner Water effort.  We did a PowerPoint presentation at a school assembly and showed the time-lapse video of the water being cleaned.  Our ChemClub collects dues of $5 each year, and we decided to use that money to provide a chocolate fountain with all the trimmings to the winning teacher to have in her room for the day.   The contest was run in all the science classes, as all students have to take four years of science in high school.  The students were so excited!  We had the fountain in the winning teacher’s classroom―unfortunately it wasn’t mine―on the day the students returned from spring break.  It made the day more fun!!

Another project we did this year was to make science kits for teachers at a local elementary school that has a high percentage of economically-disadvantaged students.  The ChemClub students divided into groups and came up with a cool science experiment.  They collected all the supplies and wrote up a procedure with questions (including answers/explanations) for the teacher to ask his/her students.  All their supplies and instructions had to fit into a gallon-size ziplock bag.  They made 28 bags to provide a science kit to every teacher at that school.  Each individual kit contains 12 science experiments – with all the necessary supplies except water and paper towels.

Sherwood ChemClub End Their Fundraiser with a Watery Demonstration

The Coins for Cleaner Water campaign really struck a chord with me, as I had been searching for a service-related activity for my chemistry club.

Here was an example where chemistry could directly impact and improve the lives of people, especially children. Simultaneously, I was intrigued by the ACS ChemClub’s suggestion to do an “emergency shower dunk” as a fundraiser idea. Since the water that comes out of the emergency shower is undrinkable (putting it lightly) why not use it to show how abundant water is for us and have a little fun at the same time?

I solicited the help of our faculty and staff and 4 brave teachers offered their names to collect money. Another teacher really talked it up in her classroom and motivated students to donate. We collected over $80 and we hope to do this again next year!

Before the dunking I showed this video illustrating the water crisis to bring attention to WHY I was getting dunked:

(This video is from a different charity. ACS is currently supporting Children’s Safe Drinking Water.)

It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture with what we do in the classroom; I wanted to make sure the link between the dunking and the water crisis was as explicit as possible.

By hook or by crook, I made sure I won and here is the result:

Tanque Verde Fundraiser

Tanque Verde ChemClub

Tanque Verde High School (TVHS) ChemClub in Tucson, AZ, joined the ChemClub program in April of this year, so we only had a week to participate in the Coins for Clean Water project.  Our ChemClub joined forces with the TVHS Student Council to organize the collection.  

Empty water bottles with information about the drive were placed in all classrooms on Monday, April 22.  We demonstrated how the purification packets work by adding the content of the packet to “dirty water” made by mixing some of the soil with the tap water.  The demonstration was viewed throughout the day by all chemistry students.  Coins were gathered at the end of the day on Friday, April 26th, and again on Tuesday, April  30th.  Student Council has helped us with counting of the donations. We collected $77.40 during the fundraisernot bad for just a week of work!

Young Students Raise Money for the Coins for Cleaner Water Initiative


The ChemClub with their pennies!
The ChemClub with their pennies!

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:

  1. The production of gas
  2. A color change
  3. The formation of a precipitate
  4. Temperature change.

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!”


Katy High School Raises Over $2000 for Coins for Cleaner 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.