I will become a chemist in the future." That was the reaction
of a fourth grader at Dutch Neck Elementary School in West Windsor
following a visit by science students from Mercer County Community
College and Rider University during National Chemistry Week.
MCCC Associate Chemistry Professor Helen Tanzini, encouraging children
to consider a future in science is precisely the goal of the traveling
chemistry show that she organizes each year with the support of
the Trenton Section of the American Chemical Society. "We promote
the marvels that can be created and observed through basic chemistry
experiments. We want youngsters to be filled with a sense of wonder
about science," Tanzini said.
students, five Rider students, and instructors from both schools
fanned out across the county from Oct. 22-26, traveling to 25 different
classrooms in six elementary schools, including Dutch Neck Elementary
in West Windsor, Greenwood Elementary in Hamilton, Langtree Elementary
in Hamilton, Morgan Elementary in Hamilton, Rogers Elementary in
Hightstown, and Roosevelt Elementary in Roosevelt. Additional Mercer
students spent hours in the lab prior to the event to prepare the
materials. In addition to Tanzini, faculty participants included
MCCC's Carlo Alfare, Bruce Chorba, Diane Hilker, Linda Falkow, Mary
Ann Norcross, Ron Smith, and Angela Treannie, and Rider's Bruce
This year's theme, "The Many Faces of Chemistry," provided
an opportunity for a variety of dazzling experiments. Among them
were the production of fake snow using polyacrylate; "magic
sand" and "Where's the water?" demonstrations to
teach about substances that mix easily with water (hydrophilic)
and those that repel water (hydrophobic); an acid/base rainbow color
demonstration; a "Milk of Magnesia" demonstration illustrating
chromatography, and the grand finale creation of "glitter slime,"
composed of polyvinylalcohol and Borax, that the children could
take home as a souvenir.
presenters at the Dutch Neck School in West Windsor included, back
row, from left, Krystyn Delfino,
Peju Odusola, Catherine Robbins, Nicholas Rodgriguez,
Assoc. Prof. Helen Tanzini, faculty members Ron Smith
and Mary Ann Norcross and alum Rocky Gervasi;
kneeling in front, Anuja Parikh, left, and Rebecca Malter.