FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – TCU is trying to light the imaginations of some fourth graders.
Hundreds of students sat in a science building auditorium Monday with lights dimmed. On the stage, a TCU chemistry professor promised the kids that even though there was no visible evidence of chemicals in a long glass tube there were, indeed, chemicals there.
To prove it, she lit the end of the tube.
Whooosh! A large column of flame shot from the tube rolled in the air and dissipated.
“Whoa!” the students all exclaimed in unison before they began cheering loudly.
The students were from Sycamore Elementary in Crowley and they were at TCU to specifically visit the chemistry department. The goal was to reveal the fun of science and encourage and interest in the field. It was also, though, to reveal the possibilities of attending college.
From the auditorium, the students divided into groups and headed to classrooms. Using various polymers, the students were given small flasks and water to mix with powders and crystals.
The goal of this is experiment isn’t just to show the transformational effects of polymers, but to prove no one has to set limits to their learning.
“Keep going!” the college professor encouraged the students as they stirred a green mixture in a flask. “Stir! Stir! Stir!
“We’re a Title 1 school,” said Julie Bair, a teacher at Sycamore Elementary. “70% (qualify for) free and reduced lunch. So, a lot of these kids need that to see, ‘I can go to college. College is still an option for me’.”
“I had teachers who did that with me who sparked that flame in me,” said Sandi Dang, a TCU chemistry and math student who recently was the Chemistry Club president. “So, I wanted to spark that earlier to bring up more interest.”
As the green liquid the students are stirring coagulates and become a green blob of Jello-like substance, its easy to see the science is engaging to the students.
“I think its pretty cool for kids like us to create a science experiment at a younger age,” one of the boys said.
10-year-old Keyauna Rice said she now wants to go to college, “Because I want to learn about things and have fun and get a career and stuff like that.”
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