Wow, what an eventful first four weeks of our pilot after-school program! Starting in early January, we've been leading a class of 4th-5th graders at the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula Clubhouse in East Menlo Park, serving students from over nine schools in the nearby Ravenswood School District.
We began our program with an introduction to design thinking by challenging them to collaborate and build the tallest tower out of spaghetti sticks, tape and marshmallows in a limited amount of time. The students came up with some crazy designs!
The next day, we dove into kitchen chemistry with a tasty experiment: homemade ice cream. By adding salt to help freeze their ice cream, kids learned the role of salt in lowering the freezing point of water and why people in snowy places put salt on the roads!
The next week, we introduced them to states of matter and the chemistry of color by challenging them to make their own non-Newtonian fluids (slime), solve a chromatography mystery, and use this knowledge to make their own chromatography flowers!
Next, we switched gears and introduced students to the science behind all the cameras, phones, computers, and other electronic devices we use today: electrical circuits. Students explored the difference between open/closed and series/parallel circuits by racing to complete SnapCircuits challenges and making their own paper circuits!
Finally, this past week, we investigated matter and atoms even further by introducing density and polarity through stacking liquids of densities and having students make their own lava lamps!
We then concluded our chemistry fun with some bubbles! Students experimented with bubble wands of different shapes to try and figure out the inner workings of surface tension.
We're looking forward to the next few weeks of our pilot program and expanding our after-school programs next quarter!