Stewartsville students get hands-on chemistry lesson via Carnegie program
Stewartsville Elementary fourth-graders got a hands-on look at chemical reactions through a Carnegie Science Center program on Thursday.
The program, Chemistry in a Bag, was presented by the center's Science on the Road department's staff educator Casey Miskimmin and program presenter Erica Tamorria.
Students experimented with the chemical compounds of baking soda and calcium chloride, and catalyst phenol red in the school's science lab.
“You'll make excellent chemists,” Miskimmin told students.
Students carefully measured the compounds, wrote their observations and predictions of the reactions, and the end results. The chemicals were mixed separately and then together for three different exercises.
“Scientists have to be very precise when they measure,” Miskimmin instructed.
She taught students about safety techniques such as wafting, or lightly and smoothly moving air, to gauge the smell of chemicals.
“You never stick your nose into a chemical of any sort and take a big whiff of it,” Miskimmin said. “It could really damage your nose and smelling receptors.”
Ben Jackson and Alex Gabauer, both 10 and from North Huntingdon Township, partnered for the experiments. Ben held the bags with baking soda and calcium chloride while Alex poured in the catalyst.
“I thought it was really cool because the reactions were just crazy,” Alex said.
“The exothermic (reaction) means that it's hot and it releases heat, and the endothermic (reaction) absorbs heat and feels cold,” Ben said. “(I liked the experiments) a lot.”
Both Ben and Alex said they will look into more science experiments when they get older.
The baking soda and calcium chloride turned pinkish purple when added separately to the phenol red, showing they were a base, or basic chemical compound. The mixture turned yellow when all three were mixed in the same bag, and that combination showed both hot and cold results.
“I thought it was really fun and exciting,” said Shain Mosqueda, 10, of North Huntingdon Township. “(What) I learned about mixing chemicals is that sometimes chemicals can make beautiful colors, make warm and make cold. I would love to do (more experiments).”
Chemistry in a Bag was brought to Norwin School District through a grant.
“It's a very hands-on approach to chemistry,” Miskimmin said. “As long as it's hands-on (students) love it, and plus you're making colors and temperature changes. They did really well. They were awesome. I would say that they go with a better knowledge of what exactly chemistry is, and different reactions that can occur when you are mixing chemicals together.”
Science teacher Laura Whalen helped coordinate the visit.
“I thought it was absolutely fabulous,” Whalen said. “A free program offered to Westmoreland County schools, and definitely a great program to take advantage of. All the different experiments they got to do were definitely more meaningful than just doing a paper-and-pencil activity ... This definitely ties into our curriculum.”
Carnegie Science Center presenters are expected to return to Stewartsville on Feb. 12 for a school-wide assembly called Fire and Ice.
More information about Carnegie Science Center programs is available online at www.carnegiesciencecenter.org.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Wintry weather in forecast for Mon-Yough area
- Race for Pennsylvania’s 39th Legislative District one to watch
- Twin Rivers COG takes another step toward finalizing merger with Steel Valley
- McKeesport basketball tournament to assist homeless veterans
- County council committee recommends drill lease
- Steel Valley school director says teachers lack volunteer spirit
- Port Authority plans to replace deteriorated McKeesport hub
- Elizabeth police step up traffic enforcement, crack down on speeders
- Facelift planned for Dead Man’s Hollow
- Gergely up against GOP’s Peoples in Pennsylvania House’s 35th District
- Campbell foundation funds computer upgrades