Graduate students volunteered at the Eastside Boys & Girls Club and did several science experiments with 9-12 year old club members. The experiments included how to make homemade ice cream, how to make really cool homemade lava lamps and many different experiments featuring dry ice.
“The children learned how polar and non polar molecules work together in the creation of a lava lamp,” said Allison Hester who is a student in the Infection, Inflammation, and Immunity discipline in our Integrated Biomedical Sciences program. “The children also learned how NaCl, salt, lowers water’s freezing point and allows for temperature low enough to change the state of cream from a liquid to a solid thus creating ice cream! I really enjoyed seeing the looks on every child’s face as they learned interesting facts about science.”
Hester explaind that she enjoyed talking with them and getting to know what type of person they wanted to be when they grew up.
“I was glad to hear a good amount of kids wanting to be scientists, doctors and astronauts! This, I believe is the importance of volunteering. The children saw potential scientists whom looked like them and believed that they too could someday be the same,” she said. “The children at The Boys and Girls Club truly have big dreams in store for themselves and I’m just glad I got to be a part in hopefully making that dream come true.”
Mika Sifuentes, a graduate student in the Neuroscience discipline of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program helped plan the ice cream experiment and said it was exciting to see how children were skeptical that the ingredients I had could actually be turned into ice cream and were amazed when it worked
“The science demonstration I did was making ice cream in a bag using supercooled water. Once we get all the ingredients into a bag, we placed it inside another bag filled with ice and salt. The salt lowers the freezing temperature of water, causing the ice to begin to melt. The melting process still requires energy, resulting in heat being drawn from the ice cream into the ice/water. After some vigorous shaking on our part, this freezes our ice cream into the final product…some of the kids were just interested in the end product, but many found the process interesting and had a lot of questions. Having to work for your ice cream definitely makes it taste better,” she said.
“Volunteering with kids is important to me because I want them to feel like science is accessible to them, in everyday life and as a career. Kids have a natural wonder about the world, and science is a great avenue for satisfying that curiosity. I enjoy having a hand in creating an opportunity for young people to think like a scientist, and have fun,” Sifuentes said.
James McCulloch, a Doctor of Medical Physics said that it was exciting for him to see that the students really wanted to learn about science.
“I taught the children about dry ice and some of its properties. They got to watch dry ice be exposed to water and the reaction that then takes place. Soap was added to some of the water to make the bubbles produced last longer. The kids could then poke the bubbles with their fingers to release the gases. We also used miniature air cannons to suck up some of the gas and shoot it out into the air. This was a demonstration on waves in a three dimensional medium.”