Chemistry Challenge - Family Chemistry Day Event

Project summary

Dr. Abraham taught lessons to the students at the various schools. Contact was maintained throughout the year with Dr. Abraham conducting previously developed chemistry kid lessons that taught some of the Chemistry Challenge content. (www.chemed.org) In January and February of 2016 qualifying exams were distributed to the schools. Exams were graded by Dr. Abraham, with the top students then invited to the local Challenge Event. Gary Misich worked throughout the academic year to insure compliance to the Chemical Education Foundation guidelines and recommendations. He coordinated the local Challenge Event that included the use of PowerPoint presented questions, utilizing clickers to record responses and then tallied the results. Awards and travel reimbursement instructions were provided to the 6 winners and their parents.

The planning for Family Chemistry Day began in January of 2016. A document listing activities and demonstrations is attached to this report as well as the summary of this portion of the project. Supplies were purchased throughout the planning period for both portions of the project.

Outcomes

  1. A Middle School COLOR Chemistry lesson was developed and presented at the 4 schools for the target group.
  2. Four different schools participated, with approximately 950 students taking the qualifying exam.
  3. Of the 71 students invited to the Local Challenge, 28 participated.
  4. Over 260 people participated in Family Chemistry Day, with 55 volunteers supporting 16 different activities.
  5. Four of the Family Chemistry Day volunteers were KSUA faculty and staff, and three were ACS members. The rest of the volunteers were KSUA students!

Most successful aspect

It was gratifying knowing that students were learning chemistry throughout the year. The event was successful, and the competition was exciting for both participants and organizers. Finally ending six students to the State Challenge and watching them participate.

Tips for similar projects

Both projects need early planning and organization. For Family Chemistry Day, recruit 1-2 persons and or schools to participate and help get administration’s buy-in to the project.

For the Challenge, start at the beginning of the school year, coordinating with the Chemical Education Foundation, recruiting schools to participate, and soliciting local ACS section support. Then have dry runs for the competition using the same equipment that will be used the day of the competition. Have a backup plan and take notes on what worked and needs to be improved. 

Next steps

  • To add additional schools to the Challenge while continuing with the four schools we currently are collaborating with.
  • Enlist other High School students to volunteer at the Family Chemistry Day so that more activities could be conducted.
  • To seek additional funds for the support of prizes, supplies and travel funds for the event.

Materials produced