On April 4, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, a local interactive children's museum, hosted a group of University of Michigan Chemistry students who showcased recently developed activities and demos to hundreds of area children and parents.
The activities and demos were developed in collaboration with the graduate student group CSIE|UM (Chemical Sciences at the Interface of Education at UM) and the Hands-On Museum to feature research being conducted in the Department of Chemistry. This event, led by chemistry Ph.D. student Daniel Nasrallah, Danielle Zurcher, and Ryan Dodson, aimed to promote an understanding of science research among the general public.
The day's activities included more than 20 Ph.D. and postdoctoral students from nine different research groups, teaching workshops on a variety of subjects. The activities included “Shrinky Dinks,” in which kids learned about polymers; “Cars and Tracks,” which demontrated small molecule activation; “Play-Doh Catalysis,” about catalytic cycles and enzymes; “Can You Code It,” about computational chemistry; “Good Bones,” about vitamins; “Will It Bubble,” about electrochemistry; and “Lego Fragmentation,” about mass spectrometry.
“The event was extraordinarily successful, and there was positive feedback from the children, parents, museum staff, and graduate student participants,” says Nasrallah. “Children and parents were fascinated by the activities as they got to learn, touch, and play with the science before them.”
The Department of Chemistry says that it plans to continue developing activities that showcase chemistry research at the University of Michigan and fostering engagement with the public.
Photos courtesy of Daniel Nasrallah