Chemistry Fires Up Students’ Interest

Shelton Scharhag

by Shelton Scharhag

VAMPY students taking Chemistry will get to experience a whole course’s worth of content in just three weeks while doing hands-on activities and labs designed to spark their interest in chemistry and in science as a whole. They will encounter chemical-reaction labs, experiments, “dry” labs, crafts, and team problem-solving competitions between notes and lectures. Unlike many chemistry classes taught in school, we have the resources to offer the interactive side of chemistry and let students discover in the real world — not just read about in a textbook — some of the fundamental concepts of chemistry.

After covering the requisite safety procedures, students have been doing multiple labs every day this week. On Tuesday they discovered the secret to making dye colorful and robust and dyed their own lab goggles. Today they crafted their own unit of measurement and reacted acid with various compounds in an experiment.

During the course, our labs will include everything from acid and base reactions to electrolysis to the Elemental Flame Test, which is always a favorite. In this lab, students will learn that not all fires have yellow and orange flames, but rather different elements produce a rainbow of colors from deep red, to bright green, to a blue-green aurora.

We hope our students will finish this course with an appreciation of the fun and importance of chemistry.