Science comes alive for Longview Elementary students
Longview Elementary fifth-grade students had the opportunity to have first-hand chemistry experiences during Discovery Gateway’s outreach science program. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
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By Julie Slama | Julie@mycityjournals.com
It started with discovering the basics: “Chemistry is the study of stuff and the changes it goes through.”
That was according to Discovery Gateway Outreach Science Educator Emilee King-World who brought science experiments to Longview Elementary students to reinforce what they were learning about in the science matter unit.
“Science is best when it’s hands on,” King-World said. “Reading and computers are great, but getting to actually see and try it, is what excites them.”
Discovery Gateway’s Reaction Time is a hands-on science outreach program that brings innovative instruction in chemistry to fifth-grade classrooms across Utah. The Reaction Time program covers the fifth-grade science core—matter, physical changes, and chemical reactions.
During the visit, King-World held a 45-minute session with both fifth-grade classes before allowing each class to have a 30-minute hands-on session. She also provided teachers with preparation packets and follow-up materials.
Longview teacher Tina Nilsson appreciates the access to materials, such as chemicals that aren’t available to her in the classroom, to enhance the students’ learning.
“They can bring chemicals and have a lot of cool things that they can use to demonstrate chemical and physical reactions and let our students gain that hands-on opportunity,” she said referring to boric acid, potassium chloride and other chemicals.
Several experiments were used with more common items such as cabbage juice, drain cleaner, and lemon juice, testing for acids and bases.
But first, King-World began with going over safety measures, including wearing protective glasses and gloves. Then, she reviewed the differences of solid, gas and liquid before going on to physical changes.
“If you boil water or freeze water, it can change what it looks like, but its make up is still the same,” she said.
However, with chemical changes, she posed questions for students to answer.
“Is there an unexpected change of state? An unexpected change in color? Or energy?” King-World asked.
King-World challenged students to identify changes with both the gas generated when mixing baking soda with vinegar as well as placing a Styrofoam cup in acetone. She also made flames ignite, create a goo-like substance and created foam formations.
Then students used three solids and three liquids for their own experiments.
Fifth-grader Bella Alamo said she appreciated learning what could happen when chemicals are mixed together.
“My favorite experiment was when she created the goo,” she said. “It looked like flubber and reminded me of Jell-O.”
Classmate Jack Madsen said that his favorite was the finale, the creating of the foam formations.
“I was really surprised how it expanded,” he said. “I didn’t expect that it would create foam. Seeing these examples and trying tests ourselves, it’s going to help me remember about matter and physical and chemical changes.”
That was the hope of the fifth-grade teachers, Nilsson said.
“When we review at the end of the year to prepare for our SAGE (standardized) tests, we can refer back to this and they’ll remember what they experienced. Plus, it gives students a chance to discover and go through the scientific process firsthand to gain valuable experience,” she said.