By Shelton Scharhag
Chemistry is perhaps not the first thing to come to mind when someone thinks of fun things to do in the summer, but these students would disagree. Our class is not only an academically enriching experience, but it is also loaded with hands-on laboratory work and experiments. We teach the students all of the basics of chemistry, covering the equivalent of a high school chemistry class in three weeks, then move in to labs once the students learn the fundamentals.
We have only been in lab one week and have already completely more than a dozen lab experiments and activities ranging from acid-base reactions to electrolysis of water and the reaction and decomposition of metals and nonmetals. Next week we plan on delving into more complicated experiments with acids and solutions that can eat metals, turn a glass of water into the hues of the rainbow, and create visually stunning reactions to the amazement of the students.
They have learned all about lab safety, the fundamentals of chemistry, and applied their knowledge in hands-on ways every day of class. As the students grow in abilities and understanding, the class will progress to those more exciting experiments while at the same time preparing the students well for rigorous academic chemistry classes in high school and beyond.
The students have been intrigued by their new way of viewing and understanding the world they live in and enjoy the chemical experiments that let them test out and discover even more.”