Victoria Russell joined STEMCAP again at Farmington Bay Youth Center to talk to our students about circuits and batteries! Students were able to experiment with the properties of water to effect hydrolysis, and then create their own circuit sculptures using playdough!
Victoria – an Electrochemist and Outreach Coordinator from the Center for Synthetic Electrochemistry – has worked with STEMCAP on many workshops, and never fails to engage our students with her hands-on projects!
In the hydrolysis experiment- as said in their own words from the CSOE website: “carbon electrodes (pencil lead) are connected to a 9-volt battery. The carbon electrodes are then immersed in an electrolyte solution in order to separate the water in the solution producing Hydrogen and Oxygen gas. A pH indicator can also be added to monitor the production of H+ ions in the electrolyte solution.” In this case, the students used cabbage juice to disrupt the pH balance and assist in the hydrolysis!
In the second experiment, students made circuits using playdough, clay, batteries, connecting wire, and simple LED lights. Using the playdough as the “conductor” and the clay as the “insulator,” students created sculptures – being sure to separate their conductive pieces with insulators. They then bridged the LED lights between pieces of playdough, and connected wires to the battery on either side- creating a complete circuit!