Fernanda Valenzuela Vazquez
January 24, 2018
I participated in Youngker High School’s Future Freshman Night, where the current 8th graders took a tour of the campus and saw a couple of different things. I was originally supposed to work on a chemistry related demonstration, but I later chose to be in the life science side of the lab and I dissected both a rat and a frog. When I was dissecting the animals a little bit of me felt bad for them but it was alright, and it was actually really fun to see all their organs, I somehow mistook some frog fat for intestines, and they looked like cut up ramen noodles. I was able to see frog muscle and tongue while dissecting as well, it was really weird to see. I enjoyed being able to talk to certain kids about SNHS because they seemed really excited for it.
Westpark and District Science Fair
On February 8th, I had the opportunity to go to West Park and judge Junior High student’s science fair projects. I had a great time getting to see all the different projects the youngsters had come up with, some were very unique, and others not so much. It was cool to see how each student came up with a problem they wanted to test, and created a plan of attack to prove or disprove the hypothesis they had established. It looked like a good portion of the projects were effectively able to come up with a procedure and make it clear to us judges what exactly they were doing. Many had very colorful and original designs that I thought were quite cool to look at. Overall, it was a great experience to see all the ideas that West Park Junior High students had come up with.
On February 22nd, I again had the chance to grade more science fair projects at the BES District Office where all the top projects from each school were. The projects were definitely a lot more interesting and unique because they were the finalists from each school in the district. The grading rubric was a lot stricter, which I liked. Some of the projects were a bit disappointing and was confused on how some of the projects had reached the district level, but there were a few really good ones. All in all, the projects were fun to grade and I had a great time.
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.