If you want a student to understand a process, have them become actively involved in it.
That became abundantly clear Tuesday afternoon for the students in Mona McCormack and Kelsey Stewart’s classes at Smith-Cotton High School as they conducted science experiments using dry ice.
“We’ve done this the past few years as a sort of Halloween tradition,” McCormack said. “It’s a way for the students to get hands-on experience and student engagement while they learn the basics of melting, evaporation, sublimation and concepts on the atmosphere.”
Throughout the day, 10 classes were given the chance to take part in eight Halloween-themed experiments.
With titles like the shrieking spoon, bubble, bubble, toil, trouble, and floating boo balls, the students gained a better understanding of earth science principles and chemistry.
“It’s pretty neat to learn about how everything works and where it comes from,” said senior Jacob Sherrill. “I think it’s really interesting to see the chemical reactions that take place in the experiments.”
Dry ice is a solid form of carbon dioxide that has no liquid stage, McCormick explained to her students in describing sublimation.
“It will go from a solid to a gas with no liquid in between,” she said. “It is negative 100 degrees Fahrenheit and it is so cold it will burn your skin to the touch.
“You can’t buy dry ice in Sedalia any longer; we had to go to Jefferson City this year to purchase it,” McCormack said. “We bought 85 pounds at Hy-Vee but they actually gave us 110 pounds.”
Both teachers, who explained the safety precautions the students needed to take before working with the substance, gave the students a safety presentation.
“One of the things these experiments do is they provide the students the opportunity to follow step-by-step instructions,” Stewart said. “It also helps them develop their critical thinking skills.”
“I really like it when we do experiments like this,” Bailey Norton said. “I am thinking about going into the medical field and so this will help me in my future.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484