Chemistry Is Everywhere

Project summary

This was a multi-component project:

  • The Sulphur River Basin Authority sponsored a display of water quality equipment at an environmental fair and a stream monitoring event. The actual equipment was displayed in a simulated working environment.
  • The Boy Scouts of America allowed Texarkana College personnel and students to organize an event with the Texas Parks and Wildlife department at the Scout-O-Rama. A demonstration held at a small intercity lake allowed participants to experience how the value of a fish kill is determined and used to determine water chemistry.
  • Executives from AirGas Corporation came to the Texarkana campus for a luncheon. The executives described what it was like to work for a Fortune 500 company.
  • Pleasant Grove High School allowed Texarkana chemistry department personnel and students to do demonstrations on the properties of solids, liquids, and gases as part of their class.
  • The Le Tourneau University chemistry faculty hosted a training session for the Texarkana College organic chemistry class in the use of nuclear magnetic spectroscopy.
  • The ACS East Texas Local Section sponsored a poster display by regional science fair winners at its regular monthly meeting. The section also supplied 300 sets of ACS glasses used to celebrate the "Color in Chemistry" theme.

Outcomes

  1. 2-17 Texarkana students took part in each of the events. Five students participated in one or more of the demonstration events. The student turnout was for the AirGas luncheon.
  2. Over 1,200 Scouts and an equal number of visitors were at the Scout-O-Rama and seventy actually took part in the Fish Kill Monitoring demonstration. The demonstration sessions for both elementary and high school students included nine classes for a total of 180 students. The remaining activities involved 35 students.
  3. All seven of the project partners seem to think they benefited from the experience and are willing to return next year.
  4. Two new high schools are interested in participating next year. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department personnel were very impressed with the way Scout-O-Rama event was organized and want to continue the relationship with Texarkana College.

The most successful aspect

The most fun and successful were the numerous sets of demonstrations done in both the elementary and high school environments. The demonstrations sets are different for each group, but all students enjoyed the activities.

The most unusual was the fish kill demonstration put together at Spring Lake Park during the Scout-O-Rama. It took us all plus the Parks and Wildlife folks to pull it off.

Tips for similar projects

In our case we actually had six different projects planned. For the most part they tended to run together so that groups ended up collaborating in more than one project. The number of events continued to expand as the year progressed. My main tip if is one: Activity tends to generate a lot of interest, have a lot of opportunities for activities.

Next steps

We look forward to extending our relationship with all six partners. In addition, several schools other than Pleasant Grove High School participated this year and want to continue to work with Texarkana College. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department personnel are eager to work with Texarkana College in doing public outreach activities.

Materials produced

Compilation of events and photos (PDF)