5 Replies Latest reply on Jan 6, 2011 7:27 AM by Carolyn Ribes

    Social Events for IYC

    Carolyn Ribes



      I work for a large global chemical company.  Our department will holding our annual meeting of leaders in 6 weeks.  In addition to the usual technical topics and networking sessions, I'd like to do something in honor of IYC.  This will be a mix of chemists and engineers, primarily. Since our day-time agenda is packed, I think that a social event would be the best fit.  Does anyone have suggestions on social activities that we could do with ~50 people that will touch on an IYC theme? It has to be fun, fairly easy to organize, and not deeply technical. Ideas involving food or that are international in scope would be especially welcome. 


      Thanks in advance for sharing your ideas. 

      Happy International Year of Chemistry! 


        • Re: Social Events for IYC
          Ruth Woodall

          You could talk about the surface tension of water and the activity would be:



          1.       Give everyone a pipette and a small glass of water.

          Place a penny on a napkin and guess how many drops of water they can get on top the penny before the drop burst.

          After they make their guess have them do the experiment.



          2.       You could also give everyone one of the fortune telling  fish  and talk about why it curls or does not curl.

          It curls up because of the moisture(water) in your hand.  Some will guess heat, or electricity.  You can order the fish from oriental trading for little cost.




          Ruth Woodall, Director Tennessee Scholars

          611 Commerce St. Suite 3030

          Nashville, TN 37203


          Fax 615-256-6726



          Have a blessed New Year.


            • Re: Social Events for IYC
              Bryan Balazs

              Two thoughts off the top of my head:

              1.  Educational Innovations sells a large variety of materials and equipment for science demonstrations, and I've bought a lot from them in the past (their prices seem quite reasonable).  See:  http://www.teachersource.com/


              2.  Since almost everyone carries a cell phone with a camera, how about a social activity involving photography and chemistry?  I haven't thought this through, completely, but ideas might be a competition to photograph chemistry in action, or to give people a bunch of clues that they then have to find the evidence for (documenting their find with a photo).  E.g., "Find 5 things that contain cellulose" or the like.  Winners' photographs could be downloaded at the end of the event and projected on a screen.

              • Re: Social Events for IYC
                Patricia Galvan

                Hi Ruth! You and Bryan have some fun ideas. I like the drops of water on a penny. It’s not too hard to add an extension--drops of salt-water on a penny. You actually get more drops of a saturated saltwater solution on a penny than drops of tap water. And comparing the amounts is fun, too. I’ve noticed that there are many variables going on here, if the penny is heads or tails, whether it’s dirty or clean, etc…but it does lead to a nice discussion of why sodium and chloride ions in the mix causes Lincoln’s head to look so big.




                I also like the fortune telling fish mainly because it is so easy to pull off in a large group setting. Also, it’s really inexpensive! You could easily give each attendee their very own red cellophane fish. Would you really trust the “opinion” of a piece of red cellophane? There’s no way a scientist would for a second, so they’ll want to find out what’s going on. I’ve seen this work so well at a public event—you were probably at that very same event in Atlanta, Ruth. I may be able to find a write-up of the investigation and explanation somewhere.




                If you’re looking for inexpensive chemistry-related stuff that people love, I have to say that those self-inflating mylar balloons <http://www.joissu.com/prodinfo.asp?number=43-712>  from Joissu.com (like Oriental Trading) have been more popular than I ever envisioned. I knew that kids would love them, but I had a group of grad students a few months ago who each had to have their very own! There’s a packet of citric acid and a tablet of baking soda inside each. You rupture the little packet of water by slapping or stepping on the balloon and it starts to inflate. The balloon gets cold, too. Nothing like an endothermic gas-producing chemical reaction to make people smile--especially when it’s all contained inside a shiny happy balloon.




                Patricia Galvan

                Program Manager, Kids & Chemistry | K-8 Science Office

                1155 16th St., NW | Washington | DC 20036

                T 202-872-6168 | F 202-833-7732 | 800-227-5558

                www.acs.org <http://www.acs.org> /education


                ACS Chemistry for Life

                American Chemical Society

                  • Re: Social Events for IYC
                    Carolyn Ribes

                    Thanks for the great suggestions. I will have to look into the sites you suggest for ordering materials.   I have also considered a scavenger hunt (example clues: find something containing oxygen; find something with density less than 1 g/mL, etc).  Answers can be submitted via photographs or in writing.  We could give prizes for most creative answers and most clues completed.