Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Brandon, MB — The lab was set up with beakers, coloured liquids, glass pipettes and the promise of cool experiments. A few days ago, a group of Grade 5 students from Kirkcaldy Heights School visited this very laboratory and were treated to a variety of experiments. After a briefing on safety, Dr. Mark Berry and Dr. Bryan Hill demonstrated some of the instruments and chemicals with which they work. They also gave the 10 and 11 year olds the opportunity to try their hand at precipitating chemical reactions.
“We felt very welcome and comfortable, and the students were engaged,” said Lisa Gorowski, the group’s teacher. “The activities were age-appropriate and the professors were patient and organized. This was phenomenal.”
Some of the experiments which the students conducted included transforming milk into a plastic-like substance, creating putty from corn starch, rolling nylon threads onto a pipette and discovering how tough the threads were.
“Such outreach sessions are one of the most unrecognized, and yet important, functions of university departments. We were thrilled to be able to host the grade 5 class, and provide some demonstrations related to their science curriculum, some of which they will be able to repeat at home with their parents,” said Dr. Berry. “We really hope they enjoyed their visit as much as we did. Hopefully we can include other school groups.”
The grand finale was the blowing up of gummy bears by melting a powder compound that reacted with the candies’ sugar content. This was conducted by the chemistry majors on hand for the morning, namely Natasha Van Damme, Patrick (Aaron) Walker and Derek Homan.
In May, students from a local high school will also head into the lab where Dr. Berry and some of his colleagues will guide them through an experiment which would not be possible in their laboratory.
“We will be providing them with an opportunity to experience a university-level experiment,” said Dr. Berry. “In the future we hope to be able to designate one week each year for visits from high school and primary school students.”
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For more information, please contact:
Joanne F. Villeneuve
270 – 18th Street
Brandon, MB R7A 6A9