By LAUREN MCDONALD firstname.lastname@example.org
The Boys & Girls Club students first put on their goggles, aprons and plastic gloves, then waited patiently for the fun to begin.
"Today, we're going to be doing an acid and base reaction," began College of Coastal Georgia student Daisha Alston.
She asked the students to start by pouring a sodium bicarbonate — or baking soda — into their water bottles, followed by dish detergent, food coloring and finally vinegar, the acid.
"Which reacts with the sodium carbonate to give you an explosion," Alston explained, just as the first volcano erupted and two girls jumped back in their seats in surprise.
Their initial shock quickly transformed into obvious amazement. They leaned in more closely to watch the pink bubbles spill over.
"This is a base, and this is an acid," Alston told them. "And when you put it together, it reacts."
A group of CCGA chemistry students took a trip to the Boys & Girls Club in Brunswick on Tuesday, to share with middle schoolers the magic of science.
Chemistry professor Andrea Wallace brought her organic chemistry students to the Boys & Girls Club several times this year as part of a semester-long service learning project. They taught the students about polymer reactions, disguised as the creation of multicolored slime, as well as acid base reactions through the volcano experiment.
Wallace said the project allowed her students to use the skills they've learned in class while also going out into the community and doing a service for others.
"They've come back and said it really reinforced their skills and that it was fun working with the kids," she said.
And the Boys & Girl Club students have clearly enjoyed the demonstrations, she said.
"They've been very excited, it's been a good experience," Wallace said. "I really enjoy watching the looks on the kids' faces."
Service learning is a growing initiative at CCGA, said Cody Cocchi, associate director of service learning. An increasing number of students are opting to take part in those opportunities, he said.
"It's not only getting our students to understand the concepts better that they're learning, but it's also using those skills that they're getting in the classroom out in the community," he said.
Alston said she's enjoyed introducing the students at the Boys & Girls Club to the fun side of chemistry.
"It's really important," she said. "It sparks the kids interest for science."
And she too was in middle school when her own passion for science began.
"Bill Nye got me, so I was about their age," she said.
Photo by Bobby Haven
Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Georgia member Masada Lewis stretches out the slime she created during a program at the Terrill Thomas unit on April 4. College of Coastal Georgia organic chemistry class students visited the center and taught the club members science lessons by helping them make slime and volcanoes as a service learning project.