Innovative Science at Blevins
Special Effects Produce Innovative Science Exam at Blevins
Loud explosions, bright flashes, effervescent fountains and thick fog fascinated Blevins Middle School students recently as they tested their knowledge of chemistry during an innovative science exam.
“It was really cool because we got to take the chemistry we’ve been learning in class to a much higher level,” said Fiona Nunn, 8th grader. “The chemicals he used were a lot stronger, and the explosions he produced were much bigger than anything we were able to do in class.”
Dressed in a white lab coat and protective glasses, Mike Aragon, student teacher, performed 13 chemistry demonstrations for 7th and 8th-grade science classes during the unique science test. Using clipboards and protected by goggles, students answered exam questions and explained the chemical reactions, formulas, equations and changes they witnessed with their own eyes and ears.
“The point is to expose students to science and get them interested in science so they will choose to go on and study science in high school,” explained Aragon . “Maybe some of them will even pursue a career in science, technology, engineering or math.”
Demonstrations Provide Unique Chemistry Test Questions
Test questions required students to list the chemical ingredients used to create fog as it sprayed into a large collection can called an air-zooka. Aragon used the device to force the air into a vortex powerful enough to knock an object off of students’ heads. Following the demonstration, students had to list the chemical ingredients used to produce the fog, define what a vortex is and explain how it was produced.
“This was their final chemistry test,” said Heidi Lovaas, Blevins science teacher. “Students had to use their understanding of the chemical concepts they studied in class to answer why Mr. Aragon was able to create these experiments and demonstrations.”
Students completed their exam to a round of cheers and applause, and moved forward to turn their test papers in at the end of class.
Blevins 7th-grader Halie Patrick said the elephant toothpaste demonstration helped her understand principles of a chemical reaction.
“I liked the elephant toothpaste because he used two different chemicals to create an explosion. I didn’t know how it worked and this explained it to me,” Patrick said.