Biology-Chemistry High School SMILE Meeting
07 December 1999
Notes Prepared by Earl Zwicker

Lois Jackson (Wallace School)
passed out 3 Mystery Boxes to groups, and a handout titled The Scientific Method. Soon we were trying to find out as much as we could about our boxes, and then we received a Lab Questions list:

Each group gave answers, and Lois recorded them. Chuck Buzek pointed out that a missing step is research, and suggested supplying a box in which all the objects are used, and more, and empty, boxes so we could simulate. Good ideas!

Marva Anyanwu (Green School)
got us involved in a discussion of physical vs chemical changes. Several definitions were suggested, and we got to the idea of formation of a new substance. We then formed into groups and Marva gave us a handout. "Chemical Change." Then, using a self-locking, re-sealable plastic bag, we placed various chemicals in. the bag and made observations. With citric acid (powder) baking soda (powder) and a smaller sealed bag with cabbage juice placed in the bag, nothing happened. But when we caused the smaller bag to open, mixing the cabbage juice with the two powders, a gas was produced with red foam and it got cold. We also noticed multiple "starburst" patterns on the side of the bag that had no label. The same patterns appeared on the outside of the smaller (cabbage juice) bag within. No explanation for this developed. A mystery!

Editorial comment: It is possible that in the manufacture of the plastic bag, an electrostatic charge is embedded, and the powder could be attracted to stick to that charged plastic.

Val Williams (Bass School)
described how he used It scientific methods" learned in SMILE to "repair" an electronic keyboard. He then explained how the keyboard , works and entertained us with a rendition of It's a Wonderful World. Interesting & fun!

Eartha Sherrill (Williams School)
distributed a list of 20th century scientists that she had assigned to her students as an internet project. After surfing the web, students will debate to decide which scientists made the most important scientific contributions of the century.