In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama noted that “We need to teach our kids that it's not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair.” The International Year of Chemsitry (IYC), a yearlong, international celebration of chemistry organized by some of the leading international chemistry institutions in the world gives students an opportunity to be a part of just the sort of activity the President was referring to. Andrew Liveris, president of the International Council of Chemical Associations, notes, “95 percent of the things that touch our lives — such as food, water, shelter, transportation, and medicine — are made possible through chemistry,” and the purpose of the IYC is to help show people just how integral chemistry is in everyday life.
Students can participate in the celebration by joining the Global Experiment called “Water: A Chemical Solution,” which could potentially be the largest chemistry experiment of all time. Students from across the world will join in the water themed experiments by testing how chemistry can be used to purify water so it can be consumed. More specifically there are four activities that students will complete while taking part in the experiment: 1) acidity 2) salinity 3) filtration 4) solar still.
While The Global Experiment requires the involvement of parent or teacher to ensure safety and provide guidance and support, an education in chemistry is not required. The experiment comes with precise directions with regard to the methods and tools necessary for the successful completion of the modules. According to the IYC, the experiments will cost very little, if anything at all, to get as many people participating as possible. The experiments are open to students of all ages and there are options for students in elementary, middle, and high school.
The International Year of Chemistry begins February 6th, and the Global Experiment runs all year. If you believe that your child or your class would have fun participating in the experiment visit the website! It is a simple yet terrific method to get students engaged with science, and it also gets students involved in helping to solve the issue several countries have finding sanitary drinking water. When Liveris was in grade school he says he became “hooked on the knowledge that chemistry would open the door to innovations that would make the world a better place.” The Global Experiment, will give more students the opportunity to feel this way.
Alan Parker is a blogger based out of New York, NY who writes about alternative energy, green business, sustainability, and climate change.
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