Is it Possible to Melt Styrofoam?

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 – written by Kiara Byrd, STEM Facilitator

March 3 - 10Today was the second day at Carter! I wanted to start with an ice breaker where we could understand the difference between abiotic and biotic factors. Jamelya was the first person to raise her hand, “an abiotic factor is a living thing and a biotic factor is a non living thing.” She did a great job and after we explained to flip the definitions, she was definitely on the right track. After that Ms Wyland, my teacher fellow, and I gave them certain things to identify and tell us t if they were a biotic factor and an abiotic factor. The girls really got the hang of it quickly which helped their brains get prepared for our next activity.

Let’s find out about pH levels!!!! We had our handouts and I went around the room and asked what did March 3 - 5they have to drink today. “I had Apple juice” said Markeisha. “I had milk” said Monique and Semaya told me she had water. After explaining to the girls what pH actually meant dealing with liquids the girls pinpointed where their drink fell on the pH scale. They have found that the juices and milk they drank was considered acids and water is considered a base. With knowing this, we applied this to our experiment for the day, what happens when styrofoam combines with an acid. We also used the scientific method and wrote down the appropriate information. The girls were really engaged as we went through each step of the scientific method and I even had my number one helper for the day. Nakayla really stepped it up today and helped me with passing out materials and helping the other girls with the experiment.

March 3 - 4I demonstrated the difference of when a styrofoam cup comes in contact with water and then what happens when it comes in contact with pure acetone. When I did the first demonstrated they were amazed at what they saw. All you could hear was oooohs and aahhhs. They all ran up to get their chance to dissolve their own styrofoam cup. The girls even took it a step further for me. Caused by curiosity, they took the remainder plastic material to feel its purity and also what happens to it if left out or having a base like soap water added to it. We know that science is all about curiosity and scientists only made huge discoveries because they were curious. They really put that trait to the test!!!! They learned that the disolving of the cup was because of the air being released from the cup because of the acetone.. Gentrice, who was a little quiet today, was even intrigued by our experiment today and asked to take the remains of the cup home. I am pretty sure Sisters 4 Science really helped her feel comfortable as time went on. It was a successful day at Carter and the girls learned a lot.