Chem Demo Team Brings Science Alive to Indiana Students

Author: Alec Hipshear

The Chem Demo Team, led by Executive Director and Outreach Coordinator Karen Morris, had a busy October introducing school children in Indiana to science in a hands-on way.

On Oct. 7 & 8, the Chem Demo team went to Indianapolis to participate in the first Celebrate Science Indiana event at the State Fairgrounds. Working with other outreach colleagues from the College of Science and College of Engineering, the booth shared significant research and demonstrated hands-on activities for a broad public audience. In addition to the demonstrations, displays and hands-on activities, the Nieman-Pick research van was showcased and drew quite the interested crowd!

The Chem Demo team lead visitors to the booth through hands-on activities in paper chromatography, made "green" glue, and demonstrated the PAD Project and how Quantum Dots are used in research today. Colorful posters describing all activities were a great addition to the booth as well as the hand-outs we shared about "green" glue and bio-mimicry, chromotography and the PAD project.

It was estimated that about 250 children from grades preschool through high school completed or visited the chemistry activities and about 800 children and adults visited the Notre Dame booth. The message from the visitors: "I didn't know Notre Dame had such a strong science program!" demonstrated that our participation elevated the status of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at Notre Dame. The conference itself drew about 2,100 participants. Plans for the 2012 Celebrate Science Indiana are underway!

During Fall Break, Oct. 18 & 19, the 8th grade class from Edison School in South Bend visited Jordan Hall to learn more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The goals for this conference are for students to consider STEM careers, to get them to pursue more science and math in high school and to provide them with a "college" experience. The Chem Demo Team, lead by graduate student Michelle Lang-Bertke, guided 25 students in chemistry polymer activities during these 2 days.