Sharing the Thrill of Science


After my older brother got me a shrunken head (a replica, I presume) for Christmas, I was instantly drawn to the natural sciences.  He helped me set up a makeshift laboratory in our basement where I would mix chemicals and begin my collection of creatures bottled in formaldehyde.  Soon enough, I was lucky to attend a school that could afford to run real science experiments and activities for kids as young as the first grade.  Currently, I am a Senior at Colby majoring in neurobiology with a chemistry minor.  Before attending medical school, I will teach biology or chemistry while volunteering for the Peace Corps.  The K-8 Chemistry
Outreach program was a wonderful opportunity to teach first-hand and make kids excited about science.  Many schools do not have the resources to dedicate to science experiments, so I am glad we worked together to create affordable, yet captivating science activities.  When I designed my activities, I knew I could excite the kids by bringing in new technology and discussing topics they may have seen on TV.  In my Hyper Hearts activity, which includes a powerpoint presentation, the kids learned about the circulatory system by experimenting with professional heart monitors borrowed from the athletic center.  Relating to crime shows like CSI, my DNA experiment (link to teachers’ information; link to student handout). incorporated simple kitchen supplies that allowed the kids to see their own DNA.  After seeing a capsized ship off the coast of Italy in the news, I decided to teach kids about surface tension by helping them move boats with soap in my Boat Race activity (link to teachers’ information; link to student handout.  Overall, regardless of the technical difficulties and the countless hours we and other teachers put in, knowing that the kids have learned something and that they walk away smiling is a very rewarding feeling. 

Ben J.


Hello!  My name is Sonia Vargas and I am a freshman at Colby College from Fowler, California. If you are reading this, I admire and thank you, because you are trying to make science fun for your students. I enrolled in the Chemistry Outreach program at Colby College with the hope that I might be able to inspire some students with my experiments the way that my science teachers from middle school and high school inspired me.  The goals that I had for my three experiments were to get students involved in hands-on, exciting science activities and hopefully inspire some future engineers, chemists, or science majors.  My first two activities are Toy Story themed, but the themes can easily be changed if you think your students will respond to another theme with more enthusiasm.  My Parachuting Army Men Experiment focuses on teaching students about gravity, air resistance, and encourages inquiry and problem solving. This experiment is appropriate for 3rd-5th graders.   My Alka-Seltzer Rocket experiment teaches students about chemical reactions and gases.  This experiment is appropriate for 5th-6th graders.  My last experiment, The Mystery of the Missing Ship-in-the-Bottle, is appropriate for all ages, and would be a great experiment to follow Kayla’s Lucky the Leprechaun Experiment about Acid and Base chemistry.  This mystery experiment is a fun way to explore chemical and physical changes.



My name is Courtney McIntosh-Peters.  I am a sophomore at Colby.  I am a chemistry major and a human development minor.  This course was a great experience because it gave me
the time to discover things about myself.  It gave me the opportunity to realize that I want to help children learn in any way possible.  This Jan Plan was a great way to engage with the youth that reside and go to school in the Colby area.  It was an awesome course and I would do it again.  I had four experiments.  The first experiment was called Brittany’s Birthday Party Surprise and it taught the children about how sugar keeps water from evaporating.  This is for younger children and can be done for about 20-30 minutes.  The second experiment was called Jordan’s Mother’s Day Present.  It teaches the students about solubility.  They also make crystals.  The solubility part of this experiment can be done with grades 3-6.  The crystals can be made with all ages.  The third experiment was called Asia’s Musical Extravaganza.  The students learned about vibrations, sound waves, and energy doing this experiment.  This experiment can be done with all grades.  The final experiment was Ashley’s First Beach Trip.  This experiment allows the students to learn about density.  They compare the density of six liquids.  They also make lava lamps.  This experiment can be done with all grades.