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Summer SAVY, Session 1 Day 5, Intro to Chemical Engineering (1st – 2nd)

Posted by on Friday, June 14, 2024 in blog, SAVY.

Hello SAVY Families!  

It was a bittersweet goodbye for us in the Introduction to Chemical Engineering class today. The students have had so much fun this week, learned a lot, collaborated well, and generated some amazing ideas. We began today with a discussion of the difference between chemical and physical changes. We tied in the water cycle (per student request) as we discussed how changes in states of matter are physical changes. After reviewing the basics of changes in matter, it was time to dig into some hands-on exploration!  

We enjoyed getting messy again as we tried a variety of substance combinations, including baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cornstarch, along with vinegar or water. We carefully observed the reactions and took notes on our observations. Then, we classified the reactions as either chemical or physical changes. For more information on chemical and physical changes, check out the brief video below:  

Next, we reviewed all we had learned about the engineering design process including key vocabulary terms like improve, process, and design. In the afternoon, students got to try their hand at a fun STEM challenge—creating Oobleck using cornstarch and water. We discussed non-Newtonian substances (substances that do not follow Newton’s laws of viscosity like cream, tomato sauce, and Oobleck) and how they behave differently than other liquids given different circumstances. Students got to experience this by testing a variety of materials to see how they would interact with the Oobleck. Students worked in stations to create and test their Oobleck while other students worked on solidifying their understanding of the Engineering Design Process through STEM Bin Challenges with materials like magnatiles, Wikki Stix, Legos, and more. After a fun and exciting concluding session of ORA, we completed our week with a super fun Play-Dough Creation and Sculpting party! Students sketched their creations in their Engineering Notebooks, which they will be bringing home today. Be sure to look through their notebooks with them for a deeper glimpse into what we did this week. We wrapped up the day by listening to the Engineer Song, which has been our theme song this week. Give it a listen at the link below:  

Overall, our course objectives were well mastered by all students. We aimed for the following: know the role of a chemical engineer and provide examples of the types of problems they solve; understand the three states of matter and describe what can happen when the states of matter are combined; collect information about everyday products and systems by asking questions; and understand the engineering design process as they independently design and carry out a challenge to improve the quality of play dough. Students achieved and demonstrated mastery or higher on each of these academic goals.  I am so pleased with the progress students have made this week. I hope you are each as proud of your students as we are! I look forward to providing you with detailed feedback on your students through the rubric. Watch your email for your completed rubric and have a great rest of your summer! 

Wishing you and your family the best,  

Dr. Rylander