Last updated 10-2-04
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CHM-107 students (and assistants) doing chemistry

VERY YOUNG SCIENTISTS: The children and young siblings of the CHM107 students often help with the labs.
In the below picture, Marie gets help from her younger brother, Thomas. They are performing the first lab where they build a water purifying column and show that it removes dissolved minerals and other types of pollutants.
On the left is the 5 year old daughter of Melissa (another current student) who is also helping with the first lab. Children get curious when water goes in colored and comes out clear.

Also just finishing the first lab is Kevin (nickname "Curly") with his son.

I think it's great that the portable chemistry lab allows parents to spend more time with their children, and that time can be enjoyed learning something.

The youngest lab partner I've seen so far has been Makayla, the cute 10 month old daughter of Tonya. They had just hydrated a plant gel known as sodium polyacrylate in a vase, and placed a plant into the polymer-based soil substitute (Lab 7).

Envious of the pretty blue crystals is Tonya's pet lizard, Romeo.


In Lab #2-part 1, Tonya gets help from her oldest daughter, Katina. The portable air pump is pushing air into a filter that is capturing particulates in the air. The filters are mailed to the college, where I take digital pictures through a microscope and share the images with the students.
In the same experiment, Claudia is getting bored waiting for the 20 minutes of air sampling, but her son is having fun anyway.
Later in Lab #7, Experiment 1, Claudia also has fun when she and her son synthesize slime.
You might have guessed that Tonya's daughter, Makayla, would find slime interesting, too.
Not just kids like to make slime. Alyssa and her new husband, Steve, couldn't help but see the funny possibilities.
Spouses of students enjoy the labs, too. This is Sam, even though he was not taking the course, he was always there helping Melissa (a different Melissa than named earlier) with the experiments. In one lab, he got to be in front of the camera.

Here is Melissa. In every photo she sent me, she was smiling. I just knew she and Sam were having fun doing the labs together. In this picture, it looks like Sam was holding the beaker while Melissa did the stirring.

Below you see Melissa and Sam letting their pet dog and pet stuffed gorilla observe the experiments.

Lonnie (on the left) got some help from a family friend, Noreen, in doing the slime experiment. I'm sure Noreen has done a lot of cooking, but this might be the first time she had to cook up some slime.
Lonnie had a great idea in using his slime to dress up the neighbor's Halloween prop. I'd say his slime is definitely Hollywood quality.
Not everyone takes a fun-hearted approach to the labs. Brock realized that these labs could be used for serious investigations.
Heath took the air sampling experiment seriously, also. His 10 year old son, Hunter, has suffered from allergies, which jeopardized his participation in sports (notice Hunter's trophies). This experiment may reveal the particulates responsible for the allergies.

This is Heath's 12 year old daughter, Marissa. She takes science seriously, too. The previous year, she won first place in a science fair, and her goal is a career in science - probably veterinary science.

She's helping with the artificial polymer soil experiment. They used a tomato plant that was later transplanted to outside soil and is now giving them tomatoes to eat.

Heath's son, Hunter, is giving the power of slime sign. Actually, they used an alternative recipe which produces more of a silly putty product. Heath's other son, Ryan, is checking it out.
Even though Tonya often involved her daughters in the experiments, she took it rather seriously because her goals for chemistry went farther than CHM107.
You could also tell Tonya was serious about the labs because her photos of the lab were always good. Here she even printed labels to help show what chemical was producing the color change. This is in lab 1, part 2 where students extract red cabbage pigment to use as a pH indicator.
This is Lisa. She was always conscientious with the labs. The pictures she sent never showed she was overjoyed, but after the course was over, she asked if I had more labs to give her, because she and her children enjoyed doing them so much.
Claudia started taking the kit more serious when she detected high nitrate levels (close to going over EPA's limit) in her tap water. Nitrate is often found in agricultural areas where nitrates from fertilizer and animal waste gets leached down to the water table. She lives is Gilbert and gets water from the Gilbert Water Company. Further testing by other chemistry students in the area confirmed higher nitrate levels than other parts of the valley. EPA's website also listed the water company of violating nitrate levels in the past.
Alyssa began CHM107 without any intention of pursuing a career in science. However, the online tutorials and the labs sparked a real interest in chemistry and science. Right after CHM107 she took a geology class. She enjoyed that, and is now taking another geology class. OK, so I didn't get her to take more chemistry, but at least she's serious about a career in science.
This is Brian. He's currently taking CHM107. He's enjoying the class as well. Even though the sun was going down, he realized there was better light outdoors. I wish more students would take some of their pictures outdoors. It always gives better light (except at night, of course).

Lonnie (below) is aiming for dentistry school, so chemistry is a big part of his future. But he doesn't have to wait that long to put it to use. This lab on water purification was done just at the right time. He was in the process of purchasing an expensive water purification system for his home. The knowledge from this lab helped him steer away from a vendor who gave information that contradicted what Lonnie discovered first hand doing the lab. Lonnie was then able to choose a vendor that included all the filter media that he learned would be needed.

Noticing Lonnie's portable laptop computer reinforces my hopes that people will see that a portable chemistry lab is just as valuable as a portable computer. They both represent tools that give you more freedom to explore and learn.
Stay tuned for more pictures of students exploring chemistry in a way that drives it home.
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Since Sept. 22, 2004