Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Magic of Chemistry

It is almost magical that a Mr. & Mrs. Science exist. They are also known as Dr's. Phil and Tina Bailey, chemistry professors* at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, California. The university that is also known as Cal Poly. Cal Poly's educational philosophy is "Learn by Doing" and Professors Phil and Tina Bailey certainly know how to get kids interested in science and math.
They have been perfecting their Chemistry Magic Show for almost 40 years. Every year, local fourth grade classes are invited to a live show at the university.

If you are curious about the show..... let's just say that things explode, catch fire, change color, disappear, reappear, crunch, munch, stink, expand, shrink, foam and goop. There is a taste test, flowers that shatter and some very unusual balloon manipulation. The demonstrations help kids understand air pressure, the three states of matter, acids and bases, chemical reactions and more. Mr. & Mrs. Science make chemistry exciting and full of fun. Smiles are mandatory.

With a grant from the Cotchett Foundation, a phenomenal 50 minute video was produced of the show. A free copy is available upon request. Please email Dr. Tina Bailey: cbailey@calpoly.edu for your copy.
The DVD was designed for third, fourth and fifth graders. But really any elementary school aged child would enjoy the demonstrations. The video also has some Cal Poly science major students explaining why they chose their field of study.

The Chemistry Magic Show video would be great for teachers and parents who want to encourage a love for science and math for their kids. Our country is in dire need of scientists. Getting kids interested in science at a young age is key to increasing the chance that they will pursue careers in science and engineering.

There is a downloadable Magic Show Handbook which is full of fun photos of kids enjoying the science activities. It includes explanations for all the demonstrations, plus some fun experiments that can be done at home with parental supervision using common household items. Also included are some science fair project ideas. Check it out :)
I want to personally thank Dr's. Bailey for showing kids that science can be fun and easy to understand. For showing kids they can ask questions and find answers. For having such fun and passion with science. And for all of this, they earn a Smart Girl Fun Award.
**they get extra credit for having boys and girls participate equally in the magic show**
* Phil Bailey, PhD is Cal Poly's College of Mathematics Dean and Tina Bailey, PhD is the Chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department.