Adventures in Chemistry

Day 1

Campers started the week off with a short intro to chemistry. Once they understood what an atom was, they got to make their own!

They then made some thermoplastic polymer. This is a plastic that changes its properties when heated and cooled. Plus, they can be heated over and over again and will still change shape!


They also made slime! Slime is a non-Newtonian liquid which means sometimes it acts like a liquid and sometimes it acts like a solid. It’s a polymer just like the plastic they played with before which means it’s made of long chains of molecules that are composed of repeating units.

 Day 2

Campers made boats that were powered by a baking soda and vinegar reaction! 
They also got to experience instance ice. This is a compound that when heated up will dissolve in water but when it cools down it causes it be over saturated. This means there are too many molecules dissolved and it want to come out of solution. With one crystal of the compound it makes the rest solidify in an instant!  

Lastly, they tried to figure out what was necessary for plaster to harden. They found out that water interacts with the plaster molecules and this creates a hardening process. Vinegar and salt water on the other hand did not work as well.

Day 3

On Wednesday, campers made a bubbling density concoction. They saw how vinegar was less dense than corn syrup and thus did not interact with the baking soda at the bottom. However, when vinegar was pipetted to the bottom, it made bubbles that rose to the top!

They also saw baking soda and vinegar at work in the dancing spaghetti experiment. Since the reaction releases bubbles it caused the noodles to rise and dance!

Campers then got to see a Cartesian diver at work! When pressure is added to a bottle full of what it causes the water to condense and the ketchup will sink. When pressure is removed, it will float back up to the top.

Campers also learned about density by comparing artificial and regular sugar. Since sugar is more dense than water but artificial sugar is not, a can of regular pop will sink in a bucket of water while a diet pop will float!

Day 4

Thursday was all about acids and bases. Campers saw why bleach can take out color in clothing. By adding food dye to bleach, campers saw how the bleach will change color. This is caused by breaking bonds in an oxidation reaction. 
Campers learned about pH next. By putting universal indicator in an acid and a base, they could see their pHs. Then they saw what happens when you mix acids and bases and create a neutral solution. 
They also got to see a magic trick! Purple paradox is an experiment that turns purple when it is shaken. The science behind it is that the powder has two oxidation states and oxygen is added when the solution is mixed. 

Day 4

Friday, experiments centered around food! Campers made stained glass sugar to show how sugar is transformed when heated. 
They also made juice turn into a solid by using calcium chloride and alginate. The two compounds interacts to make something liquid into a solid!

Campers also had the opportunity to different chemistry stations with high school students. 

Lastly, the older kids got to learn about electrolytes by comparing conductance of orange juice and Gatorade. 
We hope your campers had fun learning about chemistry!