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Celebrating IYC with a Children’s Book

In celebration of the International Year of Chemistry, South African children’s author Ginny Stone has written a children’s book about chemistry.

In “Sibo Mixes Things Up,” the main character–a young girl named Sibo–has made a huge mess and has to clean it up before her mother finds out. Her friend Lennie comes to the rescue and helps clean up the mess with a chemical “magic potion.” Sibo becomes curious about chemicals and wants to learn more about them. So her teacher invites a guest to come talk to her class about chemistry and how it helps them in their everyday life.

The book is the 10th in a series of Sibo books by Stone. “Chemistry only gets introduced to kids in Grade 6 or 7 in South Africa and I figured there is no earthly reason for them not to know about it when they are younger,” she says.

Stone debuted the book during SciFest Africa, South Africa’s national science festival, which was held this year on May 4-10 in Grahamstown, South Africa. For more information about the book, visit: www.sibo.co.za/sibo_2_011.htm

Photo by Ginny Stone.

IYC Weekly Round-up, 5/14-5/20

Here are some of the IYC happenings from the last week:

  • Today, May 20, is World Metrology Day. Go forth, and celebrate.
  • Be sure the check out the Peeps chemistry diorama Linda Wang wrote about earlier this week.
  • ACS President Nancy Jackson made her first of two appearances on the “The Best of Our Knowledge” radio program.
  • More than 800 students participated in hands-on activities during the two-day Malaysian Chemistry Carnival.
  • Impossible2possible launched its running expedition of Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world, where four youth ambassadors will also participate in chemistry experiments that will be broadcast live to participating schools and posted on the i2P website.
  • Part of Philosophically Disturbed’s Chemistry365 series, Magdeline Lum’s post about capillary action includes this mesmerizingly beautiful video:

Kids Grasp Water’s Importance

Posted on behalf of Charles Michael Drain, chemistry professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York

As part of the celebration of the International Year of Chemistry, graduate student Jacopo Samson from Hunter College of the City University of New York and I participated in the “pH of the Planet” experiment with over 250 seventh grade students from Readington Middle School in Hunterdon County, N. J.

During the last week of April, the students brought in water samples from wells, lakes, rivers, and streams. After viewing a National Geographic video about water on YouTube and discussing the properties of water, students worked in pairs to observe the turbidity and use indicators to determine the pH of 3-4 samples. Seventh grade science teachers Gerry Slattery and Chip Shepherd helped plan the experiment and worked with students when they had questions. A couple of students then tabulated the data and determined the average for each water source. Both the students and I were impressed that their averages matched well with what we determined using a calibrated pH electrode. The tabulated data is being uploaded to a database along with pH values of local water sources determined by students from every part of the planet.

“I didn’t realize how many people don’t have access to clean water and how important pH is,” seventh grader Zach said.

Drain helps prepare the experiment in his son Neel's classroom