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Summer SAVY Session 2, Day 5 – Common and Practical Chemistry (Pao)

Posted by on Friday, June 23, 2023 in blog, SAVY.

Day 5: Today, we talked about chemistry in the real world. We learned about fluorescence and phosphorescence, observed fluorescent chlorophyll, and made fluorescent slime. We also used UV light to change the color of our yellow T-shirts to blue! Please make sure the shirts are rinsed by hand before students wear them. My TA and I rinsed them out, but there may still be some blue dye left, so the shirts shouldn’t go in the laundry machine or the dryer. We also made ice cream, which demonstrated the concept of freezing point depression. We ended the day by experimenting with the rate of reactions for yeast. We used a variety of sugars and sweeteners to test which one would cause the fastest reactions by observing the amount of gas produced by yeast. The flasks with the biggest balloons and the most foam contained the fastest reactions. To our surprise, many of the zero-calorie sweeteners were metabolized by yeast with the fastest reactions. Students discussed different factors that could be tested, such as the temperature of water and the amount of yeast, and we analyzed our results.

Some key takeaways from today include:

  • Fluorescence and phosphorescence are both types of luminescence that are in everyday items, like glow sticks

  • Factors such as temperature and type of sugar can affect how quickly yeast can make carbon dioxide

If you would like to ask your child some dinner table questions, you could ask:

  • Why do you think the zero-calorie sweetener was more effective for yeast reactions than regular sugar for many groups?

  • How are fluorescence and phosphorescence different?

  • What is one cool thing that you learned from your classmates this week?

  • What is one lab skill or procedure that you learned about this week, whether that is protocols with gloves and goggles or more specific skills?

  • How can we continue to apply the chemistry concepts from this week to our everyday lives?

Thank you so much for this opportunity to teach your children. They are so hard-working, curious, thoughtful, and kind. It is such a fulfilling and unique experience to be able to teach students who take home more chemistry practice to do for fun, ask science questions that make me stop and think, and draw connections from chemistry to other disciplines in creative ways. I have truly enjoyed spending this week with our incredible students, and I hope you have a wonderful summer.


Ms. Pao