Chem Club Hosts Family Science Night

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Megha Bharadwaj (’17), Jasmine Philip (’17), and Isabel Chacko (’17) explain the polymer diapers are made up of.

On March 9th, Lenape’s Chemistry Club hosted its 6th annual Fourth Grade Family Science Night. The event was initiated in 2011 and Lenape’s class of 2019 was actually the first class to experience Family Science Night when they were in 4th grade. Kim Condurso, chemistry teacher and Chem Club advisor at Lenape, had the inspiration to start it when she heard other schools in the area were holding similar events.

“I thought it would be a great outreach program. In a community as large as Mount Laurel, it is nice to create opportunities for kids to teach kids,” she explained.

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Chem Club member, Isabel Chacko (’17), sets up a experiment.

Typically, around 100 families attend the event and it takes 75 students who are from various clubs including Storm Robotics, Project Lead-the-Way, the Environmental Club, and Meteorology Club in conjunction with Chem Club students to make the night a success.

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STORM Robotics members set up their robots

Once the 4th graders arrive they are split into groups and spent the night rotating through six stations, each of which contain hands-on activities. This year I was part of one of the experiments that Chem Club presented. My station taught the kids about the concept of absorbance through an activity involving diapers and imitation pee (water mixed with food coloring). The children were asked to estimate how many 100 mL cups of water one pampers diaper could hold. Then they were allowed to keep pouring the “pee” into the diaper until it reached maximum capacity.

Megha Bharadwaj ('17), Jasmine Philip ('17), and Isabel Chacko ('17) explain the polymer diapers are made up of.
Megha Bharadwaj (’17), Jasmine Philip (’17), and Isabel Chacko (’17) explain what the polymer diapers are made up of.

Diapers contain crystals made of sodium polyacrylate which are very tiny when they are dry but puff up into bead like balls once they absorb water. The children had a blast with the experiment and it was so pleasing to pay forward my love for science and in return see the same enthusiasm reflected in the children.

Mrs.Condurso revealed that this is “an event meant to foster greater interest in the sciences and to create academic connections between our high schools students and the upcoming generations.”I believe it truly did have its intended mark on both the children and families who attended. The night also seemed to draw families together as many parents were interested in participating in the activities with their children.

Once the children had finished rotating around the other stations which contained activities such as create miniature airplanes, exploring Lenape’s STORM robots, and playing with acids and bases, they had the chance to turn in their science passports for a small prize. Overall the night turned out to be a huge success.

If you are interested in helping out with next year’s festivities join Chem Club!