National Chemistry day held at UW-Platteville

November 10, 2003

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PLATTEVILLE - Students from area schools spent a day at UW-Platteville on Oct. 24, for National Chemistry Day. This event is an annual learning experience for students between grades 10 and 12 to introduce them to chemistry at a college level.

Groups of approximately 10 students followed Dr's. June Li, Steve Steiner and Charles Sundin to various stations and observed experiments a little more advanced than what they had experienced to date. Students got to pair up and practice a hands-on experiment with black ink. While attempting Dr. Sundin's experiment, a student found that needing to know measurements is necessary to succeed in chemistry.

Most students were in the undecided stage of their schooling and wanted to get a feel for a higher level chemistry class environment. In speaking with students, they expressed future career possibilities in business, agriculture, education and criminology.

As each group ventured over to Jim Hamilton's class, they were introduced to an instrumentation machine that bore a cost of $120,000. Brian said, "My parents house didn't cost that much."

Guessing the number of candies in a jar was a challenge for each and every student visiting National Chemistry Day. Using various formulas, the winner from Platteville obviously knew the only formula to get the exact count of 470 candies in the jar. Damien was the winner and received his prize of 470 candies!

The various groups then met in the center hallway on the third floor of Ottensman Hall where their last experiment was conducted and eaten. In a ziplock bag filled with a pre-mix of possibly cream, sugar and other 'secret ingredients', were the makings of ice-cream. A larger bag was filled with ice and salt, of which the pre-mix bag was added. Dr. Steiner emphasized the crucial step to succeeding with this experiment - to seal the bag sufficiently. Students began to move their bags around at a gradual rate until their ice-cream was ready to eat. What a way to end an experimental fun-filled day!

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