Summer SAVY 2018: Session 5, Day 3 – Chemical Spill, Mr. Knorr (Rising 3rd/4th)
Day 3 is in the books! We had another great day using the scientific method and our understanding of chemistry to help Vanderbilt clean up its chemical spill site.
In the lab session, we saw the awesome power of chemical reactions! We tested the pH of an acidic solution and then added baking soda, setting off quite the reaction. We then tested the pH of the mixture and made an interesting discovery that mixing acids and bases can actually neutralize a solution! We think this could be a great method of helping Vanderbilt clean up their spill problem.
We also are conducting an ongoing experiment to help us connect chemical effects to our living environment. Teams measured the height, width, and number of flowers of a potted plant and carefully administered acidic solutions to their plants. We hypothesized that the acid would have a detrimental effect on plant health, specifically that plants with stronger acid solutions would be more harmful to our plants. We can’t wait to evaluate the health of our flowers tomorrow!
We also discussed pollution, contamination, and their effects on human health. Some chemicals have very harmful effects and are dangerous at very small doses. But, we also learned that the EPA sets drinking water standards in order to keep citizens safe! Additionally, we discussed why spills happen and some examples of infamous chemical spills like the BP and Exxon Valdez oil spills.
In the afternoon, we conducted another site visit to our chemical spill. We collected water samples and interviewed several potential witnesses who have seen suspicious activity in the area. We believe we now have enough evidence and scientific understanding to catch whoever is responsible and safely clean up the spill before the week is over!
I’m constantly impressed by your children’s excitement to learn and contributions to our group discussions which go above and beyond their years. Thank you for providing them with this opportunity to learn such important concepts. We cannot wait to show you what we have been up to this Friday!
-Mr. Dave and Miss Janette
Working with Acids and Bases