Chemistry Students Explode with Excitement During Lab

By Serena Manwani, Reporter

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  • A methane bubble is lit right before it hits the ceiling and creates a dispersed flame.

  • Ms. Frank holds a bag of gummy bears, which she will use to light up in the test tube.

  • The dish soap infused methane solution is lit with a candle and produces a big flame.

  • Feliziana Luz Beatriz Vazquez '22 volunteered to light a candle attached to a ruler to demonstrate the experiment.

  • Feliziana Luz Beatriz Vazquez '22 uses the ruler with the candle attached to try to light the methane bubble in the air.

  • Ms. Frank prepares to light the bunsen burner for the first experiment.

  • The mixture lit up and changed color, and the gummy bear was dropped into the test tube.

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Ms. Janice Frank’s Pre-AP Chemistry class eagerly watched as Ms. Frank performed a variety of experiments to teach them about chemical reactions. The experiments included creating an explosion with a gummy bear, and lighting methane bubbles on fire.

“I think the lab went well,” Ms. Frank said. “It’s great for the students to actually know how to write reactions and predict products, but then to actually see the reaction happening before their eyes makes them learn the concept even more.”

The first experiment of the lab involved mixing two elements manually, then lighting them up, and finally adding a gummy bear to the heated mixture. The gummy bear then exploded, which is why the fume hood needed to be closed to protect the students and teacher. The mixture also changed colors, which was visually appealing to the students.

“I think when we do big labs like that in class, it helps people learn more,” Srivaishnavi Mareddy ‘22 said. “They see that this is the impact of this chemical reaction, and they can actually see in real life how chemical reactions take place.

Bubbles filled the room in the second experiment, where Ms. Frank used dish soap infused with methane, and asked for a volunteer to hold a ruler with a flame attached to create an explosion. Ms. Frank then carried a handful of the bubbles, let go, and then a student lit it, which created a flame that spread and dissipated. The experiment was really fun and informative for the students to watch.

“I thought the lab was really cool,” Mareddy said. “Typically when we do labs in class, it doesn’t really make that big of a reaction, [but] this one caught on fire and touched the ceiling. I was also really surprised because the ceiling didn’t catch on fire.”

Many students enjoyed the methane lab more, because they were able to see the reaction close up with their own eyes. It was potentially hazardous, which is why all the students had to stay a safe distance away. However, it was a great way for them to learn while having fun.

“It’s fun for me because I love to get my students excited about chemistry,” Ms. Frank said. “So if they’re excited, then I know that they’re going to be eager to learn and pursue their studies in the future.