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EAC’s 23rd Annual Student Chemistry Adventure brings chemistry to life for high school students

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EAC’s 23rd Annual Student Chemistry Adventure brings chemistry to life for high school students

By contributed article

Thatcher, AZ— Eastern Arizona College’s Chemistry Department welcomed 86 high school students and their teachers to the 23rd Annual Student Chemistry Adventure earlier this month. Twenty-two unique teams, each composed of 2 to 4 high-school students, enjoyed a wonderful day of chemistry. Teams included the Unrealiums, the Atoms Family, and the Unstable Ions from Safford; the Solar Flares from Mount Graham High School; the BrØnsted Braniacs, Iconic Ions, and Tetrahedral Eagles from Thatcher; the GeNiUS, Square Donuts, Team Daggar, and Krypto-Knights from Willcox; Red and Gray K and Potassium Pumas from Bisbee; Iron Pennies and Ferrous Wheels from Benson; RAYtheon and RAYdiant from Ray; Au (Gold) Pennies and Cu (Copper) Miners from Morenci; DaVinci’s Fallen from Ft. Thomas; and Mad Scientists and Ionic Bonds from Duncan.

The students gathered at 8 a.m. in the College’s Activities Center for juice and donuts followed by a formal welcome by Dr. Phil McBride, EAC Dean of Instruction.

The morning was full of exciting chemistry activities, with teams composed of 2 to 4 students competing against each other. Teams rotated through four separate chemistry activities. In the Laboratory competition, led by EAC chemistry instructor Duane DeSpain, students were asked to explore, as a team, two chemical phenomena that relate to gas laws. One experiment asked them to validate Boyle’s Law and the relationship between pressure and volume. The other experiment asked them to demonstrate Gay Lussac’s Law which compares pressure with a changing temperature.

Students collected and graphed data using LabQuest mobile devices and then analyzed the data to answer probing questions about how the variables were related. Students completed their reports by stating both Boyle’s and Lussac’s laws in their own words as well as with variables.

EAC chemistry instructor, Joel Shelton, led students through several short activities in the Team Activities competition. Students determined bleach concentration by mini-titration, viewed emission lines of hydrogen and sodium, determined the density of quartz and the thickness of aluminum foil, and viewed flame colors of various salts.

In the Knowledge Bowl, teams put their chemistry knowledge to the test by answering questions on various chemistry concepts.

Freeport McMoRan (FMI) ran the fourth activity. Chemist Dr. Susmita Bandyopadhyay, Emily Muteb, and a team of scientists from FMI, led students on an exploration of the chemistry of copper mining. They also highlighted the Gila Valley SME scholarship, which is available to high school students.

Each participant received a pure copper round as a souvenir.

After a lunch by Sodexho, the students and teachers congregated at the College’s sand volleyball pit to witness a demonstration of thermite and lithium in water presented by EAC’s organic chemistry students.

While results were being tabulated, EAC’s organic chemistry students continued to dazzle the high school students with elephant toothpaste, dancing flames, magic matches, cannons, and an array of other colorful, loud, bright, and exciting chemical demonstrations.

McBride presented certificates, USB car chargers, and jump drives to all of the participants and expressed gratitude to the high school chemistry teachers for their efforts in providing quality instruction to their students.

The Unrealiums composed of Abigail Montierth, Tisha Berni, Barbara Hargis, and Jayson Campbell, from Safford High School, received first place medals and a team plaque.

Second place medals and a team plaque went to Gavin Windsor, Dallin McCormies, Brianna Foraker, and Shane Skinner from team BrØnsted Braniacs of Thatcher. Third place medals and a team plaque went to Willcox’s GeNiUS-es composed of Ashleigh Dahlstrom, Marielle DeBaun, David Rivas, and Rodney Ward.

A special thanks to high school teachers Robert Purington (Benson), Vince Creviston (Bisbee), Becky Bell (Duncan), Dana Olson (Fort Thomas), Nicola Richardson (Morenci), Heidi Vosbein (Mt. Graham), Warren Jamis (Ray), Carol Hawkins (Safford), Duane DeSpain (Thatcher) and Ty White (Willcox) for their teaching expertise and dedication to their students.