Chemistry club tutors elementary students

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Chemistry club tutors elementary students

Chemistry: A club member recruits at the activity fair.
Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

Chemistry: A club member recruits at the activity fair. Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

Chemistry: A club member recruits at the activity fair. Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

Chemistry: A club member recruits at the activity fair. Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

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Chemistry: A club member recruits at the activity fair. Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

Chemistry: A club member recruits at the activity fair.
Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

SLU’s Chemistry Club is an organization that sponsors numerous chemistry-related activities throughout the year. They are affiliated with the American Chemical Society, and the activities they sponsor include a fall picnic, tours of local chemistry-related industries, and hands-on activities. For the 2014-2015 school year, the Chemistry Club received a grant in order to support their community service program.

This program is a volunteering activity located at the North Campus, located in the North St. Louis area. The North Campus is a community dedicated to bringing education-centered after-school activities to students between the third and eighth grades. Their mission is to enrich the lives of these kids, who come from underprivileged backgrounds. The kids can come to North Campus to do activities until their parents are able to come by to pick them up.

At North Campus, members of SLU’s Chemistry Club lead their own after-school chemistry lesson for sixth to eighth graders. “Every other week, we plan an hour-long lesson for them about basic chemistry concepts,” says Nidhi Gandhi, Chemistry Club’s vice president of public relations.

This is an important project for the organization because, according to Lisa Green, Chemistry Club’s vice president of service and fundraising, some of the students that come to the North Campus do not have true science teachers. Many of these kids come from schools where they cannot afford a proper science teacher. Their science classes are instead taught by a substitute. Green mentioned her surprise when she learned that some of these kids had not covered states of matter in school, and that some could not read a periodic table.

In the club’s lessons, the kids get to do some hands-on activities in order to better grasp scientific concepts. One such project was having the kids construct film-canister rockets. This project was designed to teach the different states of matter to the kids. Since Alka-Seltzer is a solid, it creates a violent reaction in liquid vinegar, which causes bubbles of gas to form. This reaction causes the rockets to shoot up into the sky. According to Green, the kids love to watch the rockets soar.

The club’s new $250 grant will cover the expenses for buying materials for the science projects that are conducted, including the rocket project. In addition, Chemistry Club has already used some of the money to buy the kids a large poster of the periodic table of elements to hang up on one of the classroom’s wall. Another purchase that the club has made has been to buy DVD’s of “Bill Nye the Science Guy”.

This grant is only the first step in the Chemistry Club’s plans for their project. Club members also want to expand to have more volunteers for their service. Last year, there were only eight volunteers last year, but for this year, the project has gained Alpha Epsilon Delta approval, and AED members can volunteer at the North Campus to complete their required service hours. This has brought about 30 new volunteers to the service program.

Gandhi said that for the future, the goal is for students to maintain their interest in science as they go through their classes. As she put it, “The main purpose of this program is to encourage students to develop and trust in science. After all of this, we want them in the future to pursue science and technology.”