I was able to go to both the West Park and the Sundance Elementary School Science Fairs. It was fun to look around and look at all the different ideas that these middle schoolers had. Some science projects were pretty impressive, and others were pretty much what you would expect from 6th-8th graders. I had never gotten the chance to participate in a science fair, so seeing these projects kind of made me wish I had. Overall, it was fun to see what these kids could come up with.
Westpark Curriculum night
Community outreach project
Being able to do projects with the younger kids was fun. When I was in grade school I remember SNHS coming to Westpark and doing a lab. I wanted to join SNHS because of that experience of them doing a small lab with us. Then when curriculum night came around I was excited. We got to choose which small lab to show the students. The lab I chose was to tie dye index cards, when the kids would take a seat they’d look at the shaving cream and food coloring in a weird way. But after mixing the colors and putting the index card in the mixture, and wiping off the colored shaving cream off the index card. The students were satisfied to see a colorful index card. I loved having to be able to show them something easy and fun, but very messy worth it though, because on my hand there was a small butterfly made out of the of colors.
Rio Salado Audubon Center
On October 21st, I, along with 8 other members of SNHS, did manual conservation work at a butterfly habitat at Rio Salado Audubon Center. I planted several, Asclepias erosa, or what is coined “desert milkweed plants”, for migrating monarch butterflies to feed on and host in. Other members also planted Calliandra eriophylla, or what is commonly called “fairy dusters”, for these butterflies to feed on. Along with conserving the environment for the survival in monarchs, we also removed invasive species of plants (i.e. bull weeds) from nearby plants.
Westpark Curriculum Night
I participated in the curriculum night held at Westpark Elementary to educate students about science with fun activities. Some of the other students ran a demonstration on burning different elements and showing the elementary school students how they burn in different colors. The station I helped in was about food coloring and shaving cream. We showed the students how shaving cream and food coloring don’t mix well, so you can swirl it into fun patterns and designs. Then, because paper absorbs the dye easily, laying a paper over it and then removing the cream results in a cool card that they could then use as a bookmark. The experience of teaching kids a little bit about science and having a fun activity was really cool. My favorite part was seeing kids’ reactions to seeing their paper for the first time. I participated in this curriculum night because it is always fun to teach younger kids and take part in a fun activity. I think this was an important event to be a part of because it’s a great way to get younger kids interested in learning about science in fun ways, and I had a good time.
For my community outreach I worked with Tyler and Jocelyn at the Club Rush event during lunch for our school. Our main goal was to try and get other students interested in taking chemistry, and joining the SNHS, and to help we were demonstrating the Elephant toothpaste experiment. The main issue with it was that, since our teach wasn’t there we weren’t allowed to use a high enough concentration of Hydrogen peroxide leading to not much happening in the experiment. We hopped to increase the rate of the reaction by covering the top and shaking the flask, which turned out not to be the best idea. The pressure built from the reaction blew out the top and sprayed the solution on the ground resulting in some pretty funny reactions.
Elementary school Outreach Project
I attended the West Park Curriculum night. The whole thing seemed science themed. I was able to work with the shaving cream and food coloring stamping experiment. We sprayed come food coloring into a tray and added a few drops of food coloring. After that we swirled the coloring to make a design and carefully laid an index card into it. Then you scrape the excess away, the pattern of the food coloring is shown on the card, like a stamp. It was really cute to see the kids look confused at first and then see their face light up when we scraped the shaving cream away and they saw the colors on the page. It was also cool to go back to my elementary school as a high school senior and see how things have changed and talk to some of my old teachers. I really enjoyed the experience.
Community Outreach Project
I attended the Phoenix Audubon Center trip. We went to the Rio Salado Audubon Center in Phoenix. While we were there, we were split into groups with several other volunteers and asked to plant Milkweed and Fairy Duster plants. These plants are among the only plants utilized by the monarch butterfly. Interestingly, the Rio Salado lays right in the migration path of the monarch butterfly, making it a very important breeding ground. It was pretty manual work, but it was cool to see the sizes of the rocks we dug up and the way groups of strangers could come together to so something good for our environment. We were also asked to go down into the riverbed and dig up an invasive grass. That part was crazy! We had to dig up the root balls that had grown around river rocks and entangled themselves in the roots of other plants. The grass itself grew so thick and so tall we had the hardest time seeing the bases of the grass clusters. It was pretty fun to peel back the plants and throw my body weight onto them to keep them out of the way. The ground under the grasses was cool, too; the dirt filled with slender roots peeled away in layers. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the project. I loved the team I worked with and the way I felt when it was all said and done. It is definitely something I would do again.