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.
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:
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 fundraiser—not bad for just a week of work!
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.