(NewsUSA) – Chemistry plays a critical role in most of life’s daily activities, but we tend to take it for granted, which means our children probably do, too. A passion for chemistry can lead to efficient transportation, improvements in medicine, safer environmental practices and more powerful computers. But, passion must start with an understanding of the basics.
Urge your kids and teenagers to get involved in science with at-home chemistry experiments to celebrate the 25th anniversary of National Chemistry Week.
Parents can receive help from the world’s largest scientific society to spur family interest in chemistry. The American Chemical Society publishes a newspaper called Celebrating Chemistry for grade school students and offers free resources for back-to-school activities (www.acs.org/chemistryambassadors). These resources are full of hands-on activities that convey important lessons about chemical interactions. After all, everything is made of chemicals.
Check out the kinds of fun experiments you can do at home with your kids — this one shows how physical forces (like gravity!) behave differently when objects are very, very small:
A canning jar (pint or quart)
Ring part of the lid for the jar
Trace the opening of the jar with your pencil on the Styrofoam plate, and cut it out.
Fill your jar with water.
Place your Styrofoam circle into the ring lid, and screw it onto your jar.
Poke a small hole into the center of your Styrofoam circle with your pencil point. Measure, and record the diameter of the hole in your data table.
Working over a sink or pail, place your finger over the hole, and turn the jar upside down. Ask your adult lab partner for help if you need it. Keep the upside-down jar straight up and down, and hold it steady. Slide your finger off of the hole. Water should not come out of the hole.
Turn your jar upright. Make the hole bigger by pushing your pencil a little farther into the hole, and repeat the procedure. Record your observation. Record the diameter of the hole and your observations.
Keep increasing the size of the hole with your pencil. Repeat the procedure until the water comes spilling out. Record all diameter measurements in your data table.
This experiment can be found on page 15 of “Celebrating Chemistry” (http://bit.ly/RfgPAT). Find more ideas at www.acs.org/ncw, including details about National Chemistry Week and its theme, nanotechnology.