This Tuesday was our second chemistry session. We started off by measuring the pH of the soap we made from the last session. Once we made sure that the pH of the soap reached the point of safety, we took them out of their molds and placed them onto the drying racks. I’m sure every one of us was eager to take one home because the soap bars looked absolutely beautiful.
As soon as we finished taking the soap bars out, we dove right into some research paper analysis. Each of the five groups was assigned a specific area of the research paper to analyze. The research described in the research paper was one that attempted to “measure” the qualities of cookies, and how the addition of specific ingredients affected their qualities. The cookies were differentiated be their color, cookie snap, moisture, surface cracks, and a few other qualities.
This experience was very valuable as it taught students how professionals approach research papers, and it helped us become aware of which details are worth paying attention to. Although the research done in this particular research paper was not the best in terms of its usefulness in the field of scientific research, it was something that can be easily understood, and a great start for those who has had zero experience with reading and analyzing research papers. Besides, who doesn’t love cookies?
After we finished analyzing, we moved on to one of the messiest, but most colorful labs of all time. Before we started doing the lab, our instructor informed us about the qualities of acids and bases. After a few minutes of learning, the hands-on work began. Each group was provided with six different substances, three of them were bases, while the other three were acids. We were also given six small test tubes. One by one, each group would fill the six small test tubes with the six substances.
Then, every group received a different indicator and we would put a few drops of the indicator into each filled test tube. Some reacted right away, while others required a little bit of a shake before reacting.
This seemingly playful experience was actually extremely educational. As we were playing with the indicators and acids and bases, randomly mixing them together to see who can create the most beautiful colors, we were actually witnessing how pH indicators are used and how acids and based react differently to the same indicators.
By the end, most groups mixed the acids and based together, and most of us were able to create a mini volcano. While we were having the time of our lives, we were also watching acid-base neutralization reactions.
This session was one where we had the opportunity to learn in the most relaxing and interesting way possible. But I would like to apologize for the big mess we made.