Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 20:02:52 -0700
Reply-To: helen <teamplayer**At_Symbol_Here**PCISYS.NET>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: helen <teamplayer**At_Symbol_Here**PCISYS.NET>
Subject: Re: Kids demos
In-Reply-To: <4E4BE994A787EF4381C6AB364E6A959D247846**At_Symbol_Here**AG_MAIL_SERVER>
When my kids were little, I'd do a variety of science related demos for
both their classes and scouts but I did not limit it purely to
chemistry.  For instance, I'd string a balloon attached to a cut piece
of straw and show the concept of jet movement.

A great favorite was using a candle in a jar with baking soda around it.
When the candle was lit and a little vinegar was poured on the baking
soda, the Carbon Dioxide gas would put out the candle.  This helped show
a variety of things that are useful for kids to know about gases (e.g.
Carbon Monoxide is also invisible but can be dangerous...a good things
to teach along with the idea of both smoke and CO detectors.)  This was
the only demo that used fire but it was not causing the fire...rather it
was putting it out.

We would do the always useful red cabbage water for acid/base concepts
and the idea of titration.

I would do surface tension with bubbles.
I would capillary action with yarn, beakers, and colored water.

I would talk about all the different things people did with chemistry
(e.g. made and molded the plastics for their DVDs, made shampoos, soaps
and detergents, and helped make sure people were healthy with medicines
and tests.)

Basically, I figured all concepts were fair game as long as I could use
safe materials to show the idea.  I never had a kid that was bored, even
though there were no explosions.  At least by the end of the demo, they
did know a few things chemists did other than "blow things up" and just
maybe some of them remembered that when they got older (I know my kids
did but after all, they lived with me).

Helen Gerhard

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