Spring SAVY 2018, Day 2- What’s the Matter? (Kindergarten)
Our second week of SAVY took us on a field trip to an actual chemistry research lab here at Vanderbilt. We got to see some of the equipment that chemists use to study matter. In our opening discussion of the day, we talked about the different states of matter (solid, liquid, gas) and how they can change between states. One of the instruments we saw in the chemistry lab (a rotovap) is used to help “boil” the solvent off a mixture using reduced pressure and a vacuum. Another piece of equipment that we saw was a lyophylizer, and it can take ice straight from a solid to a gas!
Last week during our discussion we debated whether air had matter or not. To test this, we took two empty balloons and balanced them on a yard stick. Then, we filled one with air and predicted whether or not we thought it would be heavier than the empty one. Indeed, it was heavier, and we concluded that air does have matter. If you want to see a video of the type of experiment we did follow this link.
Once we returned from our field trip we explored some of the physical properties of matter. We talked about how we as scientists can use our 5 senses to make observations. However, we don’t normally use our sense of taste because we work with things that shouldn’t be eaten! We examined 4 substances: baking soda, salt, sugar, and cornstarch. We used 4 of our senses to make observations about the physical properties of these substances. We had students using great descriptive words such as fluffy, hard, and powdery as well as comparing the substances to other substances they know about like flour. We broke out the microscopes to get a close-up view of some of the crystalline structure of these substances and drew what we saw in our lab notebooks.
This week we talked about the physical properties, and next week we going to talk about chemical properties and do some chemical reactions!