A Science by Site for (and by) Teens

Imagine being one of 14 teenagers in the country to be selected to help design a website that  presents scientific concepts to other kids their age.  This is exactly what happened when Ashwin Datta, a freshman at Glencoe High School in Hillsboro, Oregon won the opportunity to help design the website named Sparticl, developed by the Twin Cities Public Television (St, Paul, MN) with funding from the 3M company.index

Richard Hudson is the director of science production at PBS stations in the Minneapolis area. Hudson said his team developed Sparticl, which launched in 2013, because when students search the Web for science topics that interest them, they are often immediately confronted with dense and  technical pages, too complex for them to understand. Sparticl, he said, gives students a one-stop resource for quality science materials appropriate for the age level.

Ashwin has a considerable list of accomplishments under his belt, despite his young age.  He is currently trying to get a patent for his invention of a special set of Christmas lights he built. The lights only need to be installed once, and then a remote control can change their color to match the various celebrations during the year. Ashwin also likes to design computer games, golf, play the piano and ski at Mount Hood. He’s also taking flying lessons.

Sparticl is a great site for ACS ChemClub members. It delivers science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) on the web. A team of experts hand-selected videos, games, hands-on activities, and articles that are age-appropriate, accurate, safe, and engaging. And best of all, teenagers like Ashwin were part of developing it all!

Preston High School ChemClub Celebrates Mole Day


Mole Day, observed annually on October 23 from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m., commemorates Avogadro’s number (6.02 x 1023), a basic measuring unit in chemistry. This unofficial international holiday in the field of chemistry is not taken lightly by Preston High School’s ChemClub. As it has done in past years, the Preston High School (PHS) ChemClub sought to make sure the entire student body was informed about Mole Day and its significance.

To prepare for Mole Day 2013, the PHS ChemClub posted Mole Day facts around the school, decorated the ChemClub bulletin board, and even hung up a countdown that showed how many days were left until Mole Day. The PHS ChemClub used the National Mole Day Foundation‘s selected theme for Mole Day 2013—The Animole Kingdom. Balloons with the Animole Kingdom theme printed on them were purchased and hung up, and a very creative member of the ChemClub created a large poster depicting the Animole Kingdom.

On Mole Day, the poster and balloons were displayed in the school lobby to alert everyone to exactly what day it was. The PHS ChemClub also gave a presentation to the entire student body in the gym. Along with a PowerPoint presentation with pictures and facts, ChemClub members explained what Mole Day is, its significance, what a mole is, various interesting facts about moles, and even Mole Day jokes. Some samples:

  • Did you know that one mole of cents could repay the national debt of the United States 86 million times?
  • Why did Avogadro stop going to the chiropractor on October 24th? He was only tense to the 23rd!

To conclude the assembly, the video “Happy Mole Day to You” was shown.


Students and teachers were very impressed with this year’s Mole Day assembly and continue to talk about it. Thanks to the ChemClub, Mole Day 2013 at Preston High School was a success!


Halstead High School ChemClub Glowing with Excitement


Halstead High School ChemClub members served up a smorgasbord of luminescent glow stick experiments.
Halstead High School ChemClub members serve up a smorgasbord of luminescent glow stick experiments.
The Halstead High School ChemClub in Halstead, Kansas, recently decided to partake of the collection of glow stick experiments posted on the ACS ChemClub’s September Activity of the Month page “Lightsticks and Luminescence.” We did several experiments from the Activity of the Month links, but did others as well. Our experiments included snapping wintergreen mints in the dark with various objects so we could see the spark they emitted. We also used a black light to see what kinds of colors fluoresced. Several students tried the Mountain Dew and hydrogen peroxide experiment shown in a video that has been traveling around the internet. They confirmed that it is a hoax and does not work like the video claims. Lastly, and a clear favorite of the students, we cut open glow sticks and mixed the colors to see what combinations we could create. While cutting the glow sticks open was a bit messy, the students had a lot of fun mixing the colors and were glowing in both appearance and excitement at the end of the experiments.