Fourth graders on virtual field trip witness magic of chemistry

By Amy Tapia

Photography By Amy Tapia

Friday, June 18, 2021

Sandia’s Advanced Materials Laboratory recently staged a remote chemistry field trip for 200 fourth graders, who visited from their screens from five Title One elementary schools in Albuquerque. Researchers conducted the demonstrations after providing kits for the students to make lava lamps, Oobleck, gummy molecules and catapults. The students also enjoyed the ever-popular liquid nitrogen and Mentos demonstrations.

Chemist LaRico Treadwell worked with his laboratory team of postdocs and student interns to come up with fun activities that could be done safely at home or in the classroom. With support from Angela Walde, the team provided material kits for every student. After a short safety briefing, the students got to meet Sandia chemists and to become junior scientists themselves. Activities will be available soon on the Kids Day website.

The Advanced Materials Laboratory opened in 1992 to foster collaborations among Sandia, the University of New Mexico and private companies. Its primary focus is research on the synthesis and characterization of materials and on processing and manufacturing.

Demonstrating an experiment Teaching chemistry from the Labs Experimenting with bottles and Mentos

COOL CHEMISTRY — In the photos above, Eryal Rhinehart and Marissa Ringgold watch in suspense as they create the basics of lava lamps (left); Claire Davis-Wheeler shows the far-flung student audience how to put together molecules from gummy fruit snacks (middle); and the Advanced Materials Laboratory team, left to right, Avi Bregman, Eryal, Alyssa Vallejos and Patricia Hernandez, gets ready to launch their Mentos volcanos (right).

 

Demonstrating an experiment Teaching chemistry from the Labs Experimenting with bottles and Mentos

POP! GO THE MENTOS — In the photos above, Avi, Eryal, Alyssa and Patricia stand back to watch the resulting volcanic plumes (left); Avi immortalizes a rose by dipping it in liquid nitrogen (middle); and event organizer LaRico Treadwell holds the camera so the students can watch Harold Lee dissolve plastics in acetone under a chemical fume hood (right).