For the past eight years, through the American Chemical Society (ACS) Science Coaches program, Dr. Danielle Garrett, associate professor of chemistry education, has partnered with Ellen Deathridge, 4th grade teacher at Donelson Christian Academy (DCA), to engage DCA 4th graders in hands-on science experiences. Earlier this fall, Garrett Zoomed with each of the three 4th grade classes, giving them the opportunity to ask her questions about chemistry and being a chemist.
“The fourth grade students had some wonderful and thoughtful questions for me,” Garrett said. “They wanted to know everything from who encouraged and inspired me to pursue a career in chemistry as a professor to how chemistry helps our world.”
Garrett also developed and filmed a one-hour science lesson, where students got to learn about reaction rates. In this video lesson, students were introduced to the ideas of collision theory and factors that affect the speed of a reaction. During the lesson, students were given the opportunity to make predictions, observations and record data for demonstrations exploring the effect of both surface area and temperature on the rate of the reaction between vinegar and antacid tablets. After the video lesson, Deathridge led her students through a live demonstration to further explore the effects of temperature on reaction rate.
“There is a lot that has to happen that we can’t see in order for a reaction to take place, and I think this lesson and these demonstrations served as a good stepping stone in the students’ physical science and chemistry learning progression,” Garrett said.
Deathridge commented, “They enjoyed the labs, and I think it was a great learning experience using the scientific method and recording data and comparing it. Many of them understood better what a variable was through these experiments which is a hard concept.”