Bakersfield: Chemistry Circus Acts
The chemistry department at CSU Bakersfield, in collaboration with the student chemistry club and several K-12 after-school programs, is hosting Chemical Circus. This interactive program provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to reinforce their education while promoting an early interest in science among local youth. These service learners prepare and lead a series of high-impact learning experiences in chemistry, meant to engage, entertain and educate.
Chemistry Circus has established a fan base in its first year. The Boys & Girls Club and local science clubs have participated in the traveling "show" but through a $10,000 grant awarded to CSUB's chemistry department*, Chemical Circus will reach out to additional youth, expanding to high school classrooms and community organizations.
Through experiments such as the silly putty experiment which teaches polymerization, the process of combining like and unlike molecules to create a chemical reaction that results in forming a new substance, or using a simple reaction of mixing everyday items to create elephant toothpaste, participants are enjoying hands-on learning that has the potential to create a strong pipeline of diverse students interested in the sciences. "Chemical Circus really seems to bring out the best in our students," says Dr. Dani Solano, Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Eventually the department would like to add service learning as a requirement for graduation, so that all students will have participated in Chemical Circus. The experience is not lost on faculty, as Dr. Solano has re-designed some of her labs after seeing how the program has brought out the "fun" in subjects like organic chemistry.
*National competition Partnering for Excellence: Innovations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education hosted by Ashoka Changemakers, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and The Opportunity Equation funded the grant.
The chemistry department at CSU Bakersfield, in collaboration with the student chemistry club and several K-12 after-school programs, presents Chemical Circus. This interactive program provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to reinforce their education while promoting an interest in science among local youth at an early age.
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