MCCC Organizes Chemistry Week Visits
That Inspire Next Generation of Scientists

11/20/07


"I hope 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.

According to 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.

Fourteen MCCC 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 Burnham.

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.

MCCC 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.

Pictured with their young audience are MCCC students Rebecca Malter, left, and Peju Odusola.

Prof. Carlo Alfare participates in one of the experiments.

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