By Denise Parker
Glendale Community College presented a Chemistry Day Expo during the celebration of National Chemistry Week. The event was held at North Mall. GCC’s Chemistry Faculty members Professor Wei-Jen Lee and Dr. Jason Steward emceed the exposition. The demonstration had separate showings at 9:00, 10:00 and 11:00 a.m.
According to the American Chemical Society, National Chemistry Week advocated chemistry and its importance in the everyday life. NCW ran from Oct. 22-28. 2017 was NCW’s thirtieth anniversary. The theme was Chemistry Rocks!
Dr. Jason Steward and Professor Wei-Jen Lee showed great enthusiasm as they demonstrated the usage of chemicals for elementary students. These students were from Challenge and Saguaro Ranch. Dr. Steward encouraged the children to shout out the answers to the questions he and Professor Lee asked. The first inquiry given to the kids was to see what the young students knew about chemistry. Their response included explosions, bubbles, science and experiments.
The science experiments included different chemicals, like liquid nitrogen and hydrogen peroxide. Their tests involved freezing a flower, deflating animal balloons, and heating up a gummy bear. They explained the science behind each reaction. Freezing a flower had the same appearance as a fresh flower, but the frozen plant was solid and brittle. Because the plant have water in them, the water froze, making the plant hard. Another investigation for science involved Mentos and diet soda.
Professor Wei-Jen Lee and Dr. Jason Steward complied with safety by placing on goggles and gloves and keeping a safe distance from any strong chemical reaction. They also explained the results by using and defining chemistry words, like catalyst and exothermic.
The elementary students were also invited in other activities on GCC’s campus. These included being lab assistance for a crime scene lab and a sour and rock test. They were asked to read and complete instruction found on their worksheets.
When asked what she liked about the Chemistry Day Expo, said Professor Wei-Jen Lee, “I am grateful to be part of the GCC family for 10 years. Every year the chemistry department holds this event for local elementary students. Every year I am able to see the pure joy and excitement in their faces during these outdoor demonstrations and the indoor experiments. To them, science is fun. The importance of science, not just chemistry, and its role in society is a crucial one. Science outreach to the youth at a particular age can mean the difference in generating future scientists. Children are inherently curious beings. Asking questions and searching for answers via exploration is innate. By continuously exposing students to science, we can continue to pique their interest. Doing so will hopefully inspire more youths to not be intimidated by science, but to encourage engagement and achievements towards innovation in the field of science. In short, we hope to generate future scientists who will make a positive impact in society.”