Hercules Middle School

January - March 2021
Opportunity X representatives: Renee Ng

Week 1 - Origami Frog Robots

Thank you to the people who came to our first meeting! We had a good portion of students turn on their camera, ask questions in chat, and communicate with the volunteers.  Today we focused on the scientific and mathematical functions of origami, and taught the students how to fold origami frogs! They later added on a small motor powered by a coin battery to make it buzz around. As they worked, they earned points that eventually led them to winning a prize. 

Week 2 - Dancing Ghosts

Today we learned about static electricity using balloons, tissue paper, and napkins. Students learned about what makes up an atom (protons, neutrons, electrons), positive/negative/neutral charges, and the attractions and repelling of these charges. They cut out ghosts from the tissue paper, rubbed the blown up balloon with the napkin to increase the static electricity, and hovered the balloon over the ghosts to make them float in midair. 

Week 3 - Lava Lamp

Today we learned about density, immiscible liquids, and biphasic mixtures. Students learned about the science behind the bubbling effect of the lava lamp, and used food coloring to easily see the carbon dioxide gas bubbles rising up. They used baby oil, water, and Alka-Seltzer for their experiment. 

Week 4 - Water Beads

Today we learned about refraction, index of refraction, and dimensionless numbers. We also learned about Snell’s Law, Fermat’s Principle, and polymers. Students put water beads in a cup of water overnight, then took observations by themselves. They learned how the water beads appear ‘invisible’, and how Fermat’s Principle proves Snell’s Law.

Week 5 - Paper Chromatography

Today we learned about capillary action, the mobile phase, the stationary phase, and solvents using paper chromatography. Students learned about natural examples of capillary action, what parts of the experiment were the mobile and stationary phase, and what the solvent was. They used a black marker and observed the many colors that came out once the solvent reached the ink.

Week 6 - Elephant Toothpaste

Today we had our last experiment Zoom! We learned about chemical changes and their indicators, as well as catalysts, specifically catalase.  Students learned about natural chemical changes, like rotting fruit and cooking. Later on, they did elephant toothpaste at home, and told volunteers about their various observations. Some students had ratios that were slightly off, while some used cold water instead of warm water. We had a lot of positive reviews from students!