9.23.2011 Contest Information Meeting!

Hey there! We hope you all enjoyed the meeting today.

A quick recap: We showed a powerpoint about all the contests that we’ll offer throughout the year. You can find a copy of the powerpoint here, or you can simply find identical information under the competitions tab right here on the website.

Kunal and Marcus demonstrated how to light a dollar bill on fire without damaging it. They soaked it in rubbing alcohol, which contains a mixture of an alcohol and water. When lit, the alcohol, which burns at a relatively low temperature, gave off a flame. The temperature of this reaction, however, was not enough to burn off all the water, which protected the dollar bill. The flame you saw was solely from the combustion reaction between alcohol and air; no part of the dollar bill every actually caught fire.

Remember that the Science Bowl Tryout test will be held this Wednesday, Septemember 28th, in Mrs. Alonzo’s room right after school. We highly recommend that you try out, as the contest is lots of fun!

We hope to see everybody next week!

Wondercup Contest Postponed

The following email was sent to us by the coordinators of Wondercup this week:

I am sad to report that the WonderCup Challenge has lost its funding. This year’s Challenge will be postponed until Wonderfest (the Bay Area nonprofit group that produces the WonderCup Challenge) can find new funding.

But please tell your students to take heart: Wonderfest is resourceful! We will do our best to bring the WonderCup Challenge back to life in early 2012.

We apologize to all members who have already begun the process of finding teams; circumstances outside of our control have prevented this contest from occurring this year. But all is not lost! There are many more science contests that you can participate in! Come to the Science Club meeting this Friday to learn more about all the contests that will be offered this year. Also, check the list under the “Competitions” tab for some brief information about each contest.

9.16.2011 First meeting!

Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by :) If you didn’t get a chance to sign in, here’s the link to our spreadsheet: Click me! A PDF download of our meeting slides is available here: http://www.mediafire.com/?dqvd9wibv1puue4

At this meeting, Marcus, Cynthia and Frances gave an overview of Science Club activities and presented short demonstrations related to chemistry, physics and biology.

Marcus’s experiment changed copper pennies into silver and gold–or so it seemed. The materials he used were copper pennies (made before 1982), zinc sulfate, and a few strips of zinc metal. Zinc ions plated onto the pennies to turn them a silver color. Then, when he heated them, the zinc formed an alloy with the copper, making brass, which is gold-colored.

Cynthia  demonstrated the creation of a simple electric motor from batteries, neodymium magnets and copper wire.

Frances gave a presentation inspired by paleontologist Neil H. Shubin’s article in Scientific American, “This Old Body.” She talked about vestigial features of the human anatomy, including the evolutionary explanations behind hiccups (a remnant of our descent from fish and amphibians), Darwin’s Point, goosebumps, and what remains of the third eyelid in humans.

Be sure to come back next week, when we present and answer questions regarding competition opportunities. Come meet the rest of the officer team, Alexandra and Kunal, who will be back from their national math and debate competitions!