Eighth Graders Tour College Labs, Campus
Last month, the College of Alameda (CoA) hosted eighth-grade students from Alameda Community Learning Center (ACLC) for a day of science exploration on the CoA campus. The eighth-graders were fully engaged as they were exposed to college classes, professors, administrators and fully outfitted science labs.
The students were not only exposed to proper science equipment such as chemical centrifuges and fume hoods but were also treated to engaging demonstrations.
Dr. Alex Madonik opened with the first demonstration of the day. In his initial presentation, he experimented with acidity and basicity. Madonik used an extra-large beaker holding 5,000 mil of solution to change the liquid’s color through chemical reactions. This scientific test was visually striking and fully engaged the learners.
His second lesson was on conductivity, showing how some liquids are able to conduct electricity, while others are not. This enchanting demonstration used pumpkin lights, which made a bizarre sound when they went off.
Lastly, Madonik had a very large jug filled with an alcohol gas that he lit on fire, creating a dramatic display of noise and flames. These multi-sensory educational experiences really caught the kids’ attention.
Next up was an organic-inorganic chemistry experiment by Mitra Salahifar. In her demonstration she used a Styrofoam cup and covered the top with very thick pantyhose-like material. She used two solutions, one was acetone (organic) and the other was sulfuric acid (inorganic). Salahifar asked the students to hypothesize what would happen if the different solutions were dropped on the pantyhose-covered cup. Most of the learners guessed that the acid would eat through both substances and the acetone would not have any effect.
The results showed that the acid dissolved the pantyhose, but had no effect on the Styrofoam cup. The same experiment was conducted with the acetone, which on contact liquefied the cup but did nothing to the pantyhose material. This made many of the eighth-graders think about the acetone they were using to remove their fingernail polish.
The last subject of the day was on human anatomy lead by Leslie Reiman. In this activity, the anatomy and physiology instructor first showed a video on bone strength and flexibility. Following the video was a demo on bone strength and flexibility verses cement. To the ACLC students’ surprise, they learned that bone strength and flexibility is stronger than the latter material.
Next, Reiman pointed out to the learners skeletons around the room. After ACLC learners were divided into groups, bins of actual human bones were brought to each group. The academic explained that they were human bones from people who had donated their remains to science and should be treated respectfully. The learners then participated in an activity where they had to assemble an actual human skeleton where the bones had to be articulated correctly. In the process, the students learned the names of the bones and had to follow careful instructions on how to handle the fragile remains.
As a bonus to the day, Dean Lila Celhay, CoA’s Dean of Workforce Development and Applied Sciences visited the classroom and talked to the students. They learned about a dean’s role and discussed facts about attending college.
At ACLC, all students are required to take at least one college class in order to graduate. The field trip to CoA was both engaging and informative and gave the ACLC students motivation and insight into their futures as successful college students.