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    By Alicia G

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    I just love chemistry. While we can't see the atoms and molecules themselves, we can see their behavior and that's so fun.

    One book I like is Anita Brandolini's Fizz, Bubble, and Flash which discusses chemistry. Our public library has it and it's published by Williamson.

    Molecular action is as easy to see as dropping some food color in a jar of water. Without stirring, the molecules' motion mixes the dye throughout the jar (cold water is slower in doing this than hot water).

    Another fun thing is to give students a pie tin with milk (skim will work, but milk with fat does better). Drop a few drops of food coloring in the milk and the dye just sits there. Dip a toothpick into some liquid dish soap and then put the toothpick in the dye drop in the milk and the dye drop dances around quickly, a sort of fireworks in a pan. THat's because detergent molecules hang onto fat (milk) on one end and water (the dye is mainly water) on the other end, separating them. THat's molecules in action.

    You can always dig up a few polymer (long chains of molecules) projects as you go along. Polymers are really cool. Plastics are polymers as is wood. Try ripping a plastic shopping bag like you get at the grocery store. Pull in one direction and it simply stretches (you're trying to break those long chains and they sure are strong) and pull another way and it easily rips (you're attacking the weaker bonds between the chains).

    Have fun with my favorite subject.

    Alicia G

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