Good chemistry: Club makes science fun for grade-school children
THERMALITO — Science is boring, right? Not if you were one of 25 students who participated Thursday morning in experiments during a science mentoring program at Poplar Avenue School.
For those kids, science was weighing sugar until it reached the amount found in a can of soda and watching dry-ice vapors grow into massive, thick bubbles without exploding, among other interesting interactions.
“It was actually pretty fun,” said Jaiden Garten, 9, halfway through the program.
The lesson was mentored by a group of Oroville High School students in the Science Ambassadors Club and two teachers
For two hours, Allen Kreitzer’s fourth-grade class learned about such things as pressure, density, weight, how different types of liquids interact and what causes earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
“This was to bring science alive in the classroom and get them out of the textbook,” said Kreitzer amid the noisy children. “It also gives the high school kids a chance to teach and get to know the kids. It’s a great experience for everybody.”
The program was divided into two sections. The first hour, led by Oroville High science department chairman Rich Hogan, taught about density and scientific methods.
OHS teacher Shane Johnston focused on earthquakes and volcanoes
during the second hour.
One of the first experiments saw a can of regular soda and a can of diet soda dropped in a tank of water, after the class worked in small groups with the high school mentors to predict what would happen.
The regular soda sank while the diet soda floated.
After some interesting theories from the kids about why, Hogan explained the regular soda sank because it contained sugar, which is heavier.
He next had them weigh sugar until it reached the approximate amount in a soda — about 46 grams. It appeared to be at least a quarter cup.
When they saw it, the children were amazed, which Hogan hoped they’d remember.
“Next time you drink a soda, you think about that,” he quipped.
Johnson next presented four flasks, two with cold, blue liquid and two with warm, yellow liquid. The object was to place one flask on top of another, opening to opening.
After the youngsters again spent time coming up with predictions of what would happen, Johnston did the experiment.
Not much happened when he placed the warm flask on top. But when he flipped them, the blue, cold water began to mix into the yellow.
Johnston explained that cold water is more dense than warm and sinks into it.
Next came dry ice, and with it intense concentration and a lot of giggles and chatter.
In one exercise, the dry ice was put into bowls of water, and gases rose to the top and drifted out.
However, when the mentors slowly dragged a wet rag dipped in bubble soap over the bowl, the soap film trapped the gases, and billowed in giant, opaque bubbles. When one bubble collapsed, the gases cascaded over the bowls and onto the desks.
During a break between sessions, Hogan said one of the things the Science Ambassadors did to prepare for the mentoring class was to take a field trip. The group, an extracurricular club in its second year, went camping overnight at Devils Kitchen, in Lassen Volcanic National Park. There, they saw active fumeroles, which are holes at volcanic areas that emit hot gases and vapors.
“The kids have been exploring, and now they’re bringing it back to the classroom,” he said.
Johnston said of the visits to elementary and junior high schools, “Our primary goal is to get them fired up, to get them excited about science.”
The group plans to do another class at Poplar, one at Nelson Avenue School and at other schools. Hogan said Hamilton Unified School District in Hamilton City is also interested in starting a similar program there.
“The coolest thing is watching our kids teach the younger ones,” Hogan added. “We’ve had kids from back from one of these saying they want to be teachers. It builds their confidence, and the younger kids respond to them.”
The kids’ response was reflected during the break by some of the children who took part in the fun.
“It was the most coolest thing in the world,” said Kaylee Jacobsen, who displayed a keen interest in science.
Valerie Kelley summed it up: “Actually, this science is the coolest thing I’ve ever experienced.”
Staff writer Barbara Arrigoni can be reached at 533-3136 or email@example.com
Progress Report 2nd Period
Our First Test is Quickly Approaching
Our first test big test is scheduled for 23rd of September. It’s not too early to start studying now. I will be offering a study session during consultation on the 22nd. This test will combine information from chapter two and chapter five.
Good luck and remember I’m here to help you.Mr. Johnston
Welcome: School Begins
Welcome back to Oroville High School. I'm look forward to this exciting new school year. Chemistry rewarding and challenging subject that may test you in ways no other class has. I look forward to helping you understand and enjoy your time in my class. Please feel free to talk to me about any problem you may be having in Chemistry.