Our Discovery AfterSchool Instructors share stories from their classes in this guest blog series Discovery AfterSchool Stories. For more information on our AfterSchool Program, please visit – http://wesleyan.edu/greenstreet/youth/afterschool.html.
By Katie Murray and Justin Ali
During our first meeting, we studied density and tried to mix water, oil, and molasses only to find out that their differing densities caused them to stack on top of each other.
The next week, we switched gears and went on a short field trip to Green Street’s outdoor garden to collect flowers, seeds, tomatoes, and herbs so that we could dissect them and map out the parts of our plants.
We spent several weeks looking at phase changes and defining liquids, solids, and gases. We mixed baking soda with different liquids in order to see which combinations reacted to form a gas. We found out that baking soda and vinegar made lots of bubbles and created a chemical reaction. Later on, the students made oobleck to explore how cornstarch and water interact to make something that is not quite solid, but is not completely liquid either. One week we even made some tasty butter out of heavy cream to show how energy can sometimes be used to induce phase changes and turn liquids into a solids.
Science Club is a lot of fun to teach because the kids come in each week excited to experiment, learn, and watch science in action. We love teaching this class because it helps dispel negative views that science is too boring or too difficult to be fun and opens the door for students to become interested in exploring and learning how things work.