It's "Elemental!" Glenwood students solve a mystery with chemistry.

Glenwood students in grades 3 - 5 learned that knowing about chemistry and the properties of different elements can be the"key" to solving a mystery. Binghamton University's Chemistry Outreach team came to Glenwood Elementary on the morning of January 20 to engage students in grades 3 - 5 with challenges that help them explore "Fun with Chemistry," and the students worked in teams to deduce who stole the potassium iodide (KI).  

They went to six different stations for a demonstration of a particular chemical property, and each station provided a clue to help them figure out who the thief was. Armed with suspect lists, they visited these stations:

  • Investigation of Fingerprints
  • Analysis of Pen Ink
  • Determining Volume Density & Mass
  • Fabric Testing
  • Invisible Ink: Understanding Bases & Acids
  • Creating DNA Strands

Litmus strips were tested, fingerprints were examined and in the end, the chemical-swiping culprit was unmasked and the potassium iodide recovered just in time for a final, explosive demonstration. It served as a catalyst and was added to hydrogen peroxide to induce a faster chemical reaction as a foam squirted into the air (a considerable and safe) distance from the oohing and aahing students. 

The "Fun with Chemistry" exercise was presented to help pump students in grades 3 - 5 full of ideas for Glenwood's "Wonder, Explore and Create Fair," which begins at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 23. Formerly the school's science fair, students in all grades are encouraged to expand their presentations for this event. Science projects are still welcomed and encouraged, or students can share a favorite hobby, research a topic of interest to them with the purpose of sharing their findings, or even devise a new invention! The emphasis for this fair is on the process of creation, and so no matter what the topic, they will be presenting their purpose for their project, thinking about a plan for creating it, making the creation, improving it and then sharing it. 

Many thanks to Binghamton University's Chemistry Outreach program for their time and expertise on January 20! Students in grades K - 2 will enjoy MakerSpace activities on January 24 and 25 in order to spark their imaginations and provide them with ideas for the Wonder, Explore and Create Fair.

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