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Center for Community Engagement

Bakersfield: Chemistry Circus Acts

Bakersfield

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.

Find out more about service learning and community engagement
at CSU Bakersfield
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View campus service-learning projects involving instilling a love of science:
CSU Bakersfield
CSU Bakersfield

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.

CSU Chico
CSU Chico

The College of Natural Science and Gateway Science Museum came together through service learning to provide undergraduate students an opportunity to master scientific content within their STEM disciplines through hands-on activity development and delivery of activities for museum visitors.

CSU Long Beach
CSU Long Beach

SEE US Succeed! offers a two week summer camp to K-8 homeless children in the Long Beach Unified School District. During camp, students explore various concepts in geology, optics and forensic science led by credentialed teachers enrolled in CSULB's Science Education Master's Program.

CSU San Marcos
CSU San Marcos

Professor Bianca Mothé has taken the reins on developing a science center at a local elementary school to enhance students' education in STEM. CSU San Marcos' faculty and students from a variety of STEM disciplines introduce school children to university-level science concepts in fun and creative ways that bring science to life.