Chemistry students enjoy hands-on activities

Students in AP Chemistry engage themselves in classroom activities through hands-on labs and demonstrations, giving them a larger perspective than what they are able learn from textbook material or class lectures.

“I’m always doing really good demos,” AP Chemistry teacher Delilah Narvaez said. “They have a surprise on Tuesday…one we have to do outside.”

Olivia Humphrey, a sophomore, explains what the class is learning about and speculates what the subject of Tuesday’s activity might be.

“She just told us to bring sunglasses, so I’m assuming whatever it is has something to do with light that could hurt our eyes,” Humphrey said. “Right now we’re learning about thermodynamics, which is energy, heat transfer, etc. So it relates to that somehow.”

Narvaez describes the unusual qualities of the labs and demonstrations that make them an interesting way for students to learn science.

“I take two solids and I put them together and they get a liquid,” she said of one experiment. “[One reaction] actually decreases in temperature—it goes below 0 degrees Celsius.”

Junior Nicole Marmol said that her favorite lab in the class so far is one where students created different scents simply by using chemical properties.

“There was this one lab where you got to make different smells, so that was cool,” she said. “You combine different chemicals.”

Marmol is enthusiastic about the class and especially enjoys working with materials as opposed to the typical classroom routine of doing bookwork and taking notes.

“You get to see the reactions,” she said. “It appeals to the kinesthetic learning process for students, so it gives you a hands-on experience of what’s actually happening instead of just reading about it.”

By Natalia Marmol