Pre-AP Students Start off the Year with a Bang


Bailey Armosky

Srishty Pareek ’20 and Tracy Hall ’20 use spray bottles to create pink fire.

Pre-AP Chemistry students got a glimpse of their new unit by experimenting with heat. Before this, students usually had to watch the teacher do the demonstration, but now, as science becomes hands-on, teachers hand over the important responsibility of being safe. Using Bunsen burners, they learned how to light and maintain a flame. Later, they sprayed mixtures of different chemicals into that flame, causing a chemical reaction that changed the color of the flame into vibrant shades of blood red orange, and slime green.

Photo by Bailey Armosky
John Mock ’20 and Andy Lin ’20 light a Bunsen burner to begin the flame test.

“So, I do that lab in the beginning of the unit because it’s a fun lab for them to do, and it’s an easy lab to do,” Ms. Natalie Wieland said. “I want them to ask ‘Why are we seeing these colors?’ and then in the lesson, they have something to connect it to.”

For many sophomores, this was a surprising experience due to the lack of flammable materials used in previous labs in middle school. Chemistry is a more hands-on subject compared to biology or middle school science, and because of this, teachers believe that fueling students’ natural curiosity creates a more positive approach in learning.

“I like to do a lot of labs where, they call it inquiry labs, where you guys lead,” Ms. Wieland said. “Instead of me going through the motions, you guys get to question everything. I believe that it gets you guys more engaged, and you learn it better that way.”