As a part of a DE-EPSCoR and DE-INBRE community outreach program, undergraduates from the Wesley College science program participated in an event to inspire 250 students (in grades 1 – 8) to think about the elementary principles in chemistry. The event was held at the Independence School in Newark, DE on Nov. 2. The Wesley effort was led by Kyle Gillespie, a biological chemistry senior, and Dr. Malcolm D’Souza, professor of chemistry and director of sponsored research.
In order to demonstrate that chemistry is involved in daily life, a variety of experiments were chosen as a way to pique the student’s interest. One demonstration used hand boilers to help illustrate that thermal energy released from a participant’s hand can impact the chemistry of an external system. Other demonstrations depicted how energy interacted in the environment and in chemical reactions. Examples in these experiments included the use of heat sensitive paper to make bookmarks, and using specially designed balls to exhibit electricity. Another popular demonstration was using UV light sensitive beads to show how energy can be transferred through light (even when one cannot see the light).
“Such hands-on demonstrations not only improved the learning experience of the participating elementary school students, but also helped the participating Wesley undergraduates learn the importance of helping educate the next generation while getting involved with the local community,” said D’Souza.