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 thoughts. 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) CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: The information contained in or attached to this transmission is intended solely for its authorized recipient and may be confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, or responsible for delivering some or all of this information to the intended recipient, you have received this transmission in error and are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from reading, copying, printing, distributing, or disclosing any of the information contained herein. If you have received this communication in error, immediately notify the sender and delete or properly destroy this transmission, including attachments.
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