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EAC hosts 22nd Annual Student Chemistry Adventure

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EAC hosts 22nd Annual Student Chemistry Adventure

By Contributed article

Thatcher, AZ—Eastern Arizona College’s Chemistry Department welcomed 45 high school students and their teachers to the 22nd Annual Student Chemistry Adventure last week. Thirteen teams, each composed of three to four high school students, came to EAC to experience working in chemistry. The teams were “Duncan Alchemists;” “Practinium Nobledynium,” from Fort Thomas; the “Point Group,” from Mt. Graham High School; “Captain Americium,” “Team Fe (Iron) Man,” and “Thorium’s Hammer,” from Safford; “Budgies,” “Cheetah Girls,” “Li’l E=mc2,” and “H2OOOOOOOH,” from Thatcher; and the “Sr’s,” the “Periodic Genius-es,” and the “Element of Ah!,” from Willcox.

The adventure began in the College’s Activities Center. Erik Lehmann, EAC’s admissions counselor, took a few minutes to showcase Eastern Arizona College and describe the academic and extracurricular possibilities available to these students by attending EAC.

The rest of the morning saw the students conducting several chemistry experiments, with teams composed of two to four students competing against each other. The 60-minute laboratory activity involved determining the neutralizing power of an antacid. The next 90 minutes involved ten short activities, including reacting magnesium with hydrochloric acid, determining the maximum absorbance of a nickel solution, using gas pressure to push an egg into an empty bottle, determining the density of marble chips, and evaluating the catalytic effect of a raw potato on hydrogen peroxide. Teams were graded on laboratory technique, calculations, safety, and accuracy.

After lunch, the students participated in the “Puzzle” activity, answering questions covering a variety of chemistry concepts.

The students and teachers then stopped at the sand volleyball pit to witness a demonstration of thermite, presented by EAC chemistry instructor, Duane DeSpain’s, organic chemistry students.

While results were being tabulated, EAC’s organic chemistry students presented a chemical magic show which included elephant toothpaste, dancing flames, and exploding gummy bears. They silvered a glass bottle, made glowing solutions, and exhibited an array of other colorful, loud, and bright, chemical demonstrations. They concluded by shooting candy into the audience out of a PVC cannon.

EAC dean of instruction Phil McBride, presented certificates and jump drives to all of the participants and expressed thanks to the high school chemistry teachers for their efforts in providing quality instruction to their students. Team Li’l E=mc2, composed of Natalya Barney, Ashley McBride, and Nathan McMaster from Thatcher High School, received the first place medal and a team plaque. Second place medals and a team plaque went to Maddison Addington, Marissa Gonzales, Christa Imrich, and Jaime Thorne from team Captain Americium of Safford. Third place medals and a team plaque went to Willcox’s Periodic GeNiUS-es, composed of Nicholas Clement, Melissa Garcia, Sergio Pacheco, and Nathan Rundhaug.

A special thanks to high school teachers Becky Bell (Duncan), Dana Olson (Fort Thomas), Heidi Vosbein (Mt. Graham), Alexander Mutsaers (Safford), and Ty White (Willcox) for their teaching expertise and dedication to their students.