Biology Chemistry SMILE Meeting [Elementary and High School]
07 September 1999
Notes prepared by Earl Zwicker

At our first meeting we met according to subject, Biology/Chemistry or Mathematics/Physics, with elementary & high school teachers mixed. So here's what happened!


Pat Riley (Lincoln Park HS) asked us to differentiate between compounds, elements and mixtures, using variious combinations of nuts, bolts and washers, sealed inside culture dishes. Groups of us passed around the dishes and filled out an answer sheet as to which category(ies) a particular dish belonged. Then the groups were challenged to separate 3 different mixtures in cups, using beakers, paper towel, funnel and magnet. And she gave us yet another problem, to separate mixtures of chunks of marble and a copper compound. We were furnished tweezers, and based the separation on color and shape of the chunks. Is there another way?

Ken Schug (IIT)
displayed a U-tube filled with a different transparent liquid in each leg of the tube. It looked like it could be a single liquid. Because of their density difference, the liquid levels were different. But the interesting thing was that Ken had showed this to us 6 months ago! During all that time, the diffusion of one liquid into the other was so slow that they had not yet mixed into a single fluid with a common density, and so still showed different levels! Diffusion take a long time!

Chuck Buzek (Spry School)
told us to keep an eye open for stuff at toy stores that may be used to illustrate science ideas. Ken had released a "weasel" toy, which moved randomly around the floor, bumping into objects, including our feet! - but then backing off and changing direction. How does one explain its motion?

Barbara Pawela (ret. May School)
got some of us to sign up to make a presentation at this up-coming and other future meetngs. Off to a good start!