EAC’s 24th annual Student Chemistry Adventure brings chemistry to life for high school students

Photo By Lori Dugan/EAC: The ‘Highly Reactive’ team from Pima High School, composed of, from left, Sadie Morris, Kiley Scorse, Kali Nelson, and Brooke Chlarson, received first place medals and a team plaque.

Contributed Article

THATCHER — Eastern Arizona College’s Chemistry Department welcomed 85 high school students and their teachers to the 27th annual Student Chemistry Adventure. Twenty-three unique teams from high schools in Arizona enjoyed a wonderful day of chemistry.

Teams, composed of three to four students, competed against each other while rotating through four separate chemistry activities. There was an Industrial Laboratory Competition to extract copper from an aqueous solution and then plate out the copper using electrochemistry. This activity was led by Dr. Charles Abbey, of Freeport McMoRan (FMI), with assistance from FMI scientists. At the end of the activity, each participant was presented with a copper puck courtesy of FMI as a souvenir.

Joel Shelton, EAC chemistry professor, led the Speed Competition which had students conducting eight activities in 55 minutes. An Acid/Base Titration led by EAC chemistry professor, Duane DeSpain, had teams working to determine the neutralizing power of an antacid. The Knowledge Competition led by Dr. Phil McBride had teams working together to answer chemistry related questions.

After a lunch provided by Sodexo Food Service, students and teachers congregated in the Math/Science building, where an array of other colorful, loud, bright, and exciting chemical demonstrations were presented by EAC’s Organic Chemistry class. Those in attendance saw flames dancing to music, foam shooting up to the ceiling, dancing gummy bears, and were treated with homemade root beer.

McBride recognized all of the participants and expressed thanks to the high school chemistry teachers for their efforts in providing quality instruction to their students. The “Highly Reactive” team from Pima High School composed of Brooke Chlarson, Sadie Morris, Kali Nelson, and Kiley Scorse received first-place medals and a team plaque. Second-place medals and a team plaque went to the “Bromothymol Bluedogs” composed of Brinley Kempton, Jared Montierth, and Adam Paul. Third-place medals and a team plaque went to “Pb Zepellin” from Willcox High School composed of Lizzie Allred, Chase Childers, Charles Cole, and Mackenzie Palkovics.

McBride, DeSpain, and Shelton expressed a special thanks to high school teachers Becky Bell (Duncan), Dana Olson (Fort Thomas), Melinda Porter, and Debbie Crandell (Mogollon), Carol Hawkins (Pima), Ethan McBride (Thatcher) and Ty White (Willcox) for their teaching expertise and dedication to their students. These teachers are truly making a difference in their schools.

For further information about educational and career opportunities in chemistry or other STEM fields or for information about exciting science camps being offered this summer for students entering grades 6-12, including a four-day, three-night extended camp at Tonto Creek, contact McBride at (928) 428-8404.