The UTC Chemistry Club showed students from Brown Academy just how fun science can be thanks to a recent grant from the American Chemical Society-Community Interaction Grant (ACS-CIG).

All of the colleges and universities in the U.S. with ACS student affiliates are eligible for this grant, but only 16 grants were awarded this year. This is the first time UTC has received this grant.

On Tuesday, September 25, The UTC Chemistry Club put the funding to good use by taking a trip to Brown Academy and showing a group of sixty-three fifth graders the fun side of science through a demonstration and a hands-on activity.

UTC faculty demonstrated a dry-ice demo to show the Brown Academy students how carbon dioxide can affect the pH of seawater. This held the young students’ interest, but the second activity gave the children a hands-on experience.

The Brown Academy fifth graders participated in activities that taught them how to differentiate between acids and bases using radishes, baking soda, candle wax, vinegar, and paper. The students rubbed a radish on paper to color it red, which turned it into indicator paper. Then they used cotton balls to rub the paper with a baking soda solution, and before their eyes the paper turned blue indicating that the baking soda is basic.

In another activity, each student used a wax birthday candle to write a “secret message” which couldn’t be read on the paper.  Next they rubbed the message with a cotton ball that had been dipped in vinegar and watched as the message turned blue while the rest of the paper stayed red.

The Chemistry Club plans to continue to engage students in science experiments at the Discovery Museum. On Saturday, October 27, they will have a dedicated booth at the Museum in an effort to celebrate National Chemistry Week.

“We [UTC Chemistry Club faculty and students] will set up two tables for demonstrating shrinking balloons with liquid nitrogen, a hands-on activity for making slime, and a second hands-on activity making a stress ball,” Dr Jisook Kim, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, said. “Kids get to take the slime and the stress ball they make home.”

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