Saturday, November 13, 2010

National Chemistry Week on Cape Cod

Cape Cod Celebration October 21, 2011
ACS Member Volunteers: Dr. Jack Driscoll and Jennifer Maclachlan (wearing her Chemistry Ambassador pin)

At my first local section meeting, I had the pleasure of meeting the American Chemical Society (ACS) local section National Chemistry Week Chair, Christine Jaworek-Lopes, who gave me an incredible amount of support and a bagful of National Chemistry Week supplies to share with my "junior-chemists-in-training". Then, my "Jiggle Gels" kit arrived from The American Chemical Society, courtesy of The Chemistry Ambassadors, two days before Jack and I were scheduled to appear before the local after school program kids to celebrate National Chemistry Week. We had an abundance of chemistry related goodies with which to share and excite the children about chemistry. 

I arrived early and set up the tables with all our supplies including safety goggles-which were of course a huge hit amongst all of the kids grades K-8 since they were "like real scientists".
We had about 40 kids in all and they came in two rounds; each arriving looking tired and hungry after a long day of school. The older children, surprised by the room setup and the chemistry props and tools, raced to the tables thrilled by the idea of "doing a science experiment", forgoing their snacks until we had made every last bit of bright green slime.

As the little ones came in, the older students eagerly helped their young peers who arrived in the second group. First guiding them through the "lipstick experiment" and then telling them "how cool it was to make slime and how they could keep it" and showing them how to use the dropper and how much to measure of each "chemical". We had the children work both in partners and on their own-like real chemists; as a team and independently-the kids loved being like real chemists.

We even had the local newspaper in covering the event. The reporter was impressed by the level of enthusiasm that the children were exhibiting.
We promised the kids we'd come back soon to celebrate the International Year of Chemistry and also promised the program directors that we'd come in once a quarter during International Year of Chemistry.
At parent pick-up, one of the eighth graders ran up to his mother and asked her to high-five him and he "slimed" her-good thing the mother was amused with a "eeoow, gross" response. He said "Mom, you don't even understand HOW COOL this was; we did chemistry and made the slime  FROM SCRATCH, using chemistry".  

This made my heart happy.


  1. Hi Jennifer,
    It looks like you guys had a great time. What a wonderful NCW event! Congratulations! You truly are a Chemistry Ambassador by sharing your experience and passion for chemistry with the kids. It's so wonderful to see and hear the reaction of the kids doing chemistry...and sharing it with their families.

  2. Jennifer,
    Nice job. I was forwarded a link to your NCW report by John and Christine. I look forward to putting a write-up in the January Nucleus along with two other reports of NCW events. I also enjoyed your report on the October NESACS meeting.