This class has given me the opportunity to give back to the community that I have lived in for the past four years in the most meaningful way possible. I have been part of various clubs that support and promote the greater Waterville community. but none of them have been as rewarding as this class. Leading a science class is difficult work—controlling the students, delivering the take home message, making sure the students have fun, etc.—it takes a lot of thinking on your toes. However, being able to engage with kids in a subject in which they don’t have very much experience until high school is amazing. I have never thought of myself of as much of a teacher, but this class has shown me that I can teach. It has given me the confidence to accept a job as a Spanish teacher in my year off before dental school; something that I was originally very nervous about.
I designed three experiments for the Outreach class. My goals for all of my experiments were to engage the kids, have them learn something, and ensure that they have fun “doing” science. The first experiment, The Mystery of the Ice Cream Machine (Mystery Activity Teacher Kit and Mystery Activity Suspects) is an activity in which the students had to analyze a series of clues to determine who stole the ice cream machine. The students get practice using chromatography, hydrometers, fingerprint analysis, and acid-base indicators. The second experiment, Potions (Potions Teacher Kit), is centered on acid-base chemistry and indicators. The students use litmus paper and red cabbage juice to figure out which substances are acids and bases. All the acids and bases are standard household products. The third experiment, Shapes of Strength (Shapes of Strength Teacher Kit), is a lesson in geometry/physics. Students watch a demo of how many textbooks four eggs can support, and then they try to build their own structures.
I had an amazing time working with the kids; this truly was an extremely rewarding class.