Asyaa Mohamed, vice-president of the Brandon University Chemistry Club, demonstrates the water fountain experiment for visitors to Winterlude at Brandon University earlier this year.
Aspiring young chemists from Westman schools will get to experiment in the big leagues next month.
During the week of May 14 to 18, Brandon University has invited students in Grades 4 to 6 and Grades 11 and 12 to use its chemistry labs to see and conduct authentic laboratory experiments linked to their curriculum.
The use of BU laboratories will provide access to facilities not usually available to these classes.
"This will allow students to get their hands wet, figuratively speaking, and allow for a better understanding of the role of chemistry in everyday life," said Dr. Mark Berry, the chair of the BU chemistry department.
"The chemistry department feels that providing opportunities like this for the local community are an important aspect of faculty life."
During their half-day in the lab, the Grades 4 to 6 classes will have a chance to witness a variety of demonstrations, some of which will be hands-on experiments.
Examples of activities include isolation of protein from milk and conversion to putty, making a nylon polymer, embedding a penny in Bakelite, converting a penny into silver, observation of various reactions related to colour changes, states of matter and oscillating processes.
The grand finale will be the "gummy bear torture chamber."
Grades 11 and 12 classes will spend a full day in the chemistry labs and conduct two university-level experiments, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
These will demonstrate different areas of chemistry. Students will receive an explanation of the theory and mechanism behind the experiments and then, in pairs, will conduct experiments themselves.
During the lunch break, there will also be an opportunity to tour the department’s research facilities and meet summer students conducting research in areas such as cancer therapy, drug abuse/addiction, catalysis of industrial processes, synthetic chemistry and materials chemistry related to the electronics industry.
A number of applications from both elementary and high school groups have been received, but there are some spaces left.
Any other interested school groups should contact Mark Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Space will be allotted on a first come, first served basis. Applications should include the name of the teacher with a contact e-mail, name of the school, grade of the class, and number of students in the class.
Smaller classes may be combined together to maximize availability. Elementary school groups should indicate whether they prefer morning or afternoon. All groups must include at least one teacher.
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition April 14, 2012