Bay Area Science Festival
2014
    On Nov 1, the Santa Clara Valley Section of the ACS and the Stanford Chemistry Club participated in the final event of the 2014 Bay Area Science Festival-Science Day at ATT Park. The festival provides a wide range of science & technology activities including lectures, debates, exhibitions, concerts, plays, and workshops, at a variety of locations throughout the Bay Area. Young people will understand that science is fun, exciting and important, encouraging them to pursue careers in science; parents will feel more confident about supporting their kids’ interests in science; teachers will have new resources to get students thinking about science outside of the classroom; and, policy-makers and corporate leaders will understand that the public demand for science-related resources is real…and requires investment and support. Based on similar festivals throughout the world, the 50+ festival events are expected to attract over 50,000 active participants, many of whom traditionally do not have access to quality scientific resources.
    The final event is a huge science demo day held at the baseball park in San Francisco, ATT park. The event started at 9AM and ended at 4PM. It is estimated that more than 10,000 people attended by the organizers.   
    Santa Clara Valley volunteers (2) and the Stanford Chemistry club (3 graduate students: Carolyn, Elizabeth, Rain) hosted a table with two different hands on experiments. The first involved determining the chemical properties of sodium polyacrylate (the polymer found in most diapers). When ionic compounds are added to wetted SAP (on wax paper), this increases water mobility and causes SAP to puddle. Covalent compounds have no effect. We asked the participants to predict what would make SAP puddle after we showed them it the effect. Chemicals to be tested included Epsom salts, table salt, sugar, and sand.
    The second experiment asked the participants to predict whether a gummy candy will be sweet or sour. Many gummy candies are coated with either sugar or citric acid (to make them sour tasting). It can be hard to differentiate by visual observation. But adding a small piece of the candy into a sodium bicarbonate solution provides a quick and dramatic differentiation.
    We also had a wheel of fortune for the students to spin.  They were asked to chart the outcome and the older students were encouraged to review the chart and figure out what reward they might expect to receive from the graph of the previous results.
    This was a very successful event.
BASF Experiment                                           BASF Experiment 2

                                                                              The two experiments; candy on the right


Wheel of Fortune                                                                  Wheel of Fortune

                                                                                                   The Wheel of Fortune
--Natalie McClure


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