Drops Steam Workshop
On May 6th, I participated in the Drops Steam workshop along with LA Audubon Staff at Webster Middle school. It was a cloudy morning and were afraid that it would rain during the event but, knew if that were to happen that we would still continue with the event. When students and parents, along with teachers, started dropping in we had them make their own name tags and decorate them! We then started the event with Emily Cobar presenting “A Day in the Life of OUR Storm Drain,” where she explains how dropped trash eventually goes into the Ballona Creek and then wash out into the ocean. She explains this by reenacting exactly how we lead trash, fertilizer, and harmful pesticide into our drains that go through the Ballona creek and into the ocean as a fictional story about everyday people who unconsciously do this on a daily basis.
After this awesome story we split students with their parents into groups to go on three stations we set up for the event. The three stations were; bird watching, nature sketching, and water chemistry. Joyce and I were in charge of water chemistry! I was really excited to do this station because it is a fun station where you can do easy experiments that both students and parents could enjoy! I started our station by asking them, “what does water chemistry mean?” I would receive lots of blank faces but I narrowed it down by saying that chemistry is a special form of science that explains many substances of how they are composed, such as water.
Then Joyce and I talked about adhesion and cohesion. I first gave a simple definition of cohesion which is when molecules like to stick together which creates “surface tension.” My example of a form of cohesion was when insects, such as mosquitos, are able to walk on water. Then Joyce gave the definition of adhesion which is when water molecules like to stick to other things. Her example of adhesion was when water goes up the roots through the stem and to the leaves of a plant.
I then taught them the cohesion experiment, where I used a penny, water, and a skinny coffee mixer stick. Using my stick, I would add water drops onto my penny and continued to do so until the penny held a huge water bubble and I stopped adding water when it finally overflowed. This showed the students how cohesion looks which gave them a better understanding about cohesion.
For adhesion, the experiment that Joyce taught the students was to hold a strip of tissue paper vertically with a corner dipping into the water on the pennies. This showed how adhesion worked since the water would slowly rise up the tissue paper just like it would inside plants and trees. After every group visited each station we all gathered together to listen to Ms. Stacey present low, medium, and high water intensive foods which we happen to eat every day. She would present a food and ask how many gallons of water does it take to grow the food, for example, an apple takes up 117 gallons of water and carrots take up 26 gallons for it to grow. After presenting these foods we all got to eat them at the end of the event and thankfully it did not rain!