MIT Women In Chemistry Hold 'Scientist for a Day' Camp

Danielle Radall
August 17, 2016

On July 30, 2016, the MIT Women in Chemistry held a Scientist for a Day camp for middle school-aged girls from the area.

The 22 girls who attended were invited to campus for an afternoon of chemistry demonstrations and hands-on experiments.  The day began with an opening demonstration of hydrogen peroxide decomposition, or "elephant toothpaste", while discussing what it is that a chemist does:

Opening demonstrations- elephant toothpaste 26_0.jpg


Hydrogen peroxide decomposition is demonstrated.

 

And the activities concluded with liquid nitrogen ice cream-making:

(4) Liquid nitrogen ice cream 23.JPG


A young Scientist for the Day observes as the ice cream comes into fruition.

 

In between, the girls had the opportunity to interact with members of Women in Chemistry, who guided them through engaging experiment stations, where the girls learned about nylon synthesis by making "slime":

(2) Nylon synthesis and SLIME 12.JPG


Nylon synthesis and slime creation.

 

Extracted chlorophyll from spinach and DNA from strawberries:

(3) Extracting chlorophyll and DNA 31.jpg


Extracting chlorophyll and DNA.

 

Simulated the greenhouse effect:

(5) Simulating the greenhouse effect 18.JPG


Greenhouse effect simulation.

 

and conducted investigations on the function of popping candy (Poprocks):

 

 

The Scientist for a Day camp was a fulfilling and enjoyable experience for all who participated. It was organized and run entirely by volunteers from MIT Women in Chemistry, who allocated a portion of their Departmental funding to hold the event. The response was universially positive, and the group aims to continue this program (and others like it!) in the future.