WFU chemistry majors teach students science basics

Photo by Tevin Stinson

WFU chemistry majors teach students science basics
November 09
04:00 2017

Students from Speas Global Elementary School last week received a science lesson they will remember for some time, thanks to upperclassmen in Lindsay Comstock-Ferguson’s “Kitchen Chemistry” class at Wake Forest University.

While on a visit to Kaleideum North on Friday Nov. 3 students from Speas learned the basic principles of chemistry by using items you can find in the kitchen. Dancing popcorn, a jelly bean taste test, and a colorful lemon volcano were all part of the fun and the curriculum for Comstock-Ferguson’s advanced chemistry class. 

Students in the class learn about food science and how working in the kitchen uses the fundamentals of chemistry. With the project at Kaleideum, students designed hands-on experiments to make chemistry fun and relatable for young children. Several students enrolled in the “Kitchen Chemistry” course said they decided to take the class because it was different. 

“It’s very different from other courses offered by the Chemistry Department,” said senior chemistry major Karleigh Smith. “It’s cool to learn about food science. I enjoy cooking but learning the science behind cooking is different than just following the directions.”

During a brief interview with The Chronicle, Comstock-Ferguson discussed the course and the response it has received from students. She said the food chemistry course serves as a refresher for upperclassmen.

She said, “The students realize pretty quickly that there is some really fundamental chemistry that we’ve learned in all our other classes that are applied here, it’s just a different system.”

As for the students from Speas, Comstock-Ferguson said the kitchen chemistry experiments provide the opportunity for them to see that ordinary things they have at home can be science. 

“That’s the hard part for kids: They don’t understand that science is in their lives every day. Whether it’s chemistry, or biology, or physics, they just don’t see it, so this provides an opportunity for them to see,” Comstock-Ferguson said. 

While the students enjoyed the experiments and other attractions at Kalideum North, several parents said they were excited to see their children get amped up over science. 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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