In addition to offering semester programs, CIEE Bonaire engages in community outreach activities. One important partnership is with the Junior Rangers of Bonaire, an educational youth group of STINAPA for middle school and high school students. This past month CIEE Bonaire organized a hands-on chemistry class for the Jr. Rangers.
The goal was to teach the students some safe chemistry experiments that they can do at home in their own kitchen. Our learning objectives included chromatography and acid-base reactions with exciting methodologies involving candy and explosions.
The first experiment for our 8 pupils was an experiment with a lot of sweetness called: Candy Chromatography! We looked at different dyes used in M&M’s, skittles and felt pens. By using chromatography to separate the dyes into their components the Jr. Rangers discovered that the green candies were made of two different dyes, yellow and blue, and the blue and yellow candies just had one dye. It seems like the M&M’s and skittles companies only use primary colors, yellow, blue and red, that it is much cheaper than buying mixed dye.
The other experiment that we did involved an exploding volcano eruption! Not a real one, but one with baking soda (base) and vinegar (acid). This with a little bit of soap added to this acid-base reaction, the product is a bubbling and exploding eruption. We even added some food coloring for a more dramatic/fun and colorful explosion.
In the end when there was a big mess, everybody helped to clean before getting some M&M’s to go. We knew our learning objectives were accomplished when our students stuck out their colorful tongues after eating the M&M’s and pointed out chromatography in action.