Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 11:31:30 -0700
Reply-To: "Hurlbut, Dan" <dan.hurlbut**At_Symbol_Here**AG.STATE.CO.US>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: "Hurlbut, Dan" <dan.hurlbut**At_Symbol_Here**AG.STATE.CO.US>
Subject: Kids demos

To whom is interested,

  My boss forwarded me an e-mail he received from your group concerning
chemistry demo at elementary schools, and so I thought I'd give you my

I agree, that doing smoke and fire demos for elementary school kids is
inappropriate.  I've been doing science demos for the last eight years at my
kids' K-8 school.  I strive to make my presentations such that the kids
understand the information they are hearing, and may be, just may be, they
go home and show mom and dad what they learned in school.  That's why I
bring things like a bowling ball, water, salt, cooking oil, pop, LifeSavers
candy, marbles.  During the presentations I tell them that some of the
principles they are seeing are the same principles some chemists use in
their everyday jobs.  There is little, if any, "magic" in my presentations.
Although, I do tell the kids how fascinated I'm that the science does what
it does.

If you are interested, below is a general discussion of my presentations I
do at Bear Creek K-8 School in Lakewood, Colorado:

 I begin by talking about science in general and lead into chemistry.  From
there, I talk about electrons, protons, and neutrons, and then build a macro
model of a hydrogen atom using a bowling ball and the tip of a straight pin.
We then go into a discussion about static electricity and polarity.  Water,
cooking oil and salt are used to demonstrate polarity differences between
two liquids and how I use this principle at work everyday.  I then extract
table salt from cooking oil using water.  I then I may do some color
separation when we talk about the "colors in colors.", or we go into the
"Marble Problem" where I pass out pouches containing marbles and we
"collect" data for about three parameters.  Afterwards, we discuss any trend
the data shows and come with a solution to the teacher's marble problem.
To wrap up, I'll show the kids how mint LifeSavers candy act as a "carbon
dioxide" magnet by putting an entire roll into a two-liter bottle of pop and
let the fountain flow.  The entire presentation takes about an hour, and the
kids love, and the teachers appreciate it as well.

Thanks for letting me express my thoughts.

Dan Hurlbut

Daniel B. Hurlbut, Chemist
Groundwater Program
Colorado Department of Agriculture
2331 W. 31st Avenue
Denver, CO  80211
(303) 477-0014
(303) 480-9236 (fax)

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