The First Annual Chemistry Fair

In the Freshman locker bay on February 5, 2019, Mrs. Schmidt and Mrs. Basch hosted the first annual Chemistry fair. Students in Mrs. Schmidt’s freshman Earth Science class as well as those in Mrs. Basch’s Earth Science class participated in this event. The chemistry fair hoped to have students focusing in depth on a chemical compound in order to learn more than what could be taught in class. At EPHS the teachers are working more and more to get students more involved in the classes. The Chemistry Fair this year developed by Mrs. Schmidt and Mrs. Basch (EPHS Earth Science teachers) was another attempt to get students more involved.

         In an interview with Mrs. Schmidt she stated that students “Will get to know one chemical compound very well. In this way they can teach each other, but also a lot of times we teach a concept or topic and move in. So my goal here was to apply it to something so you remember it better.” Another goal of hers was to get the students interacting with the compounds hands on. This is an alternative learning method to lecturing the other students. She went on to say, “I wanted to mix it up and give the students something they could do hands on.” Both science teachers assigned this project after winter break and gave students time in class so they wouldn’t have to wait until the end to do the entirety of the project. The final products that were produced both educated the brain and pleased the eye.

         When visiting the Chemistry Fair you could very clearly see the students were well educated on their compound. Students took turns educating other on information about the compound they had selected. When the students were presenting their compound some of the other students gathered around to take notes on what the presenters were sharing. Mrs. Schmidt also wandered the fair asking students questions about their compound. Students were then graded on their presenting skills and information by guest judge Dr. Danny Gigax who has a PhD in agricultural science and specializes in Herbicide.

         Molly Larson; a student in Mrs Schmidt’s class did her poster on the compound Borax. When asked why she choose this compound she said; “Because was had a box of it at my house.” Although she chose her compound out of availability she did enjoy what she learned about Borax. She even did a hands on demonstration which involved the production of slime. She showed the judge and her fellow classmates how you can make slime with Borax and other simple ingredients. She explained what the borax did to devolved the slime and wowed her classmates. When asked what she thought really interesting about Borax she said; “Borax actually has a very low toxicity level.” This was surprising for her because Borax seems to be a stronger chemical that is used when cleaning clothes and other items. Overall, Molly enjoyed the fair and was intrigued with what she learned about Borax.

         Ashley Maese is another student who participated in the Chemistry Fair. Her compound was Aspirin. She choose this compound out of intrigue and because her mom is allergic to this common over-the-counter drug. Ashley learned that “Aspirin crystals look pretty cool.” When she dove into the informations behind Aspirin. She didn’t have a hands on activity like Molly did but had a Bohr model to show her compounds bonding. When asked what she thought was most interesting about her compound she said; “The crystals in an Aspirin go out in all different directions  because they can not touch.” Just like with Molly, Ashley also gained key information out of this project.

        In the end, Mrs. Schmidt and Mrs. Basch saw the Chemistry Fair as a success. Students successfully showed what they learned while having fun and mixing up the regular education style. It was clear that the students learned a lot and liked working on the compound they chose. After talking to a good portion of student it was clear that they all enjoyed the fair. Students really enjoyed this learning experience and so did the teachers. The Chemistry Fair went well for the freshman students participating  considering they hadn’t done something quite like this before. Hopefully next year the Chemistry Fair will be just as successful for teachers and students alike.

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