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Your Kids

Helping Kids Understand Chemistry

Posted: 5/22/2013

As long as people need new products, better ways to protect the environment and more information about the world and the way it works, there will be a need for chemists
As long as people need new products, better ways to protect the environment and more information about the world and the way it works, there will be a need for chemists.

(NAPSI)—Parents and teachers can do their youngsters a good turn by helping them learn to love science. Fortunately, it can be both easy and enjoyable to do. Here are a few hints on how:

What You Can Do

• Take a walk outside and look at the clouds. Talk to your youngsters about the different kinds and how they form.

• Have children help with cooking and baking. Show them how correct measurement is important and what happens when you mix ingredients, add heat and so on.

• Try a scientific experiment at home. A fun one suggested by the experts at the American Chemical Society (ACS) can be using chemistry to blow out a candle.

Gather up a birthday candle, a foil cupcake wrapper or sheet of aluminum foil, vinegar, a 1-liter soda bottle (empty), baking soda and a teaspoon. Wear protective goggles.

Make a candleholder by poking a hole in the cupcake wrapper or aluminum foil. Cut the bottom of a birthday candle so the top of the wick is below the rim of the holder and adjust as needed.

Pour ⅓ cup vinegar into the 1-liter bottle. Although the bottle now contains a little liquid, it is mostly filled with the gases that make up air. Light the birthday candle. Tilt the bottle, letting a few drops of vinegar fall into the cup (but not on the flame). Put 1 tsp of baking soda into the bottle containing the vinegar. A funnel or paper cone may help you pour. Swirl the bottle to make sure the liquid and powder are mixed. When the fizzing dies down, tilt the bottle over the lighted candle. The carbon dioxide in the bottle should blow out the candle for you. Carbon dioxide is a nonflammable gas. It can be poured downward through the air because it’s heavier than air. As the gas collects in the cup, the air in the cup is pushed up and out, the flame loses its oxygen supply and goes out.

What Chemists Can Do

If your kids are considering a career in science, they may be interested to learn that chemists can do a variety of jobs. Many work in laboratories to solve problems and make new materials. Laboratory chemists are often inventors who combine chemicals in ways no one else has done before. Some are teachers. Others are lawyers or writers. Because chemistry is part of everything, chemists work in many different fields and have a wide variety of jobs.

Chemists also want to protect the environment, to bring international focus to environmental causes, such as clean air, water and energy. In fact, this is the 10th anniversary of the ACS’s Chemists Celebrate Earth Day (CCED).

Learn More

For informative and amusing articles and other information about chemistry, check out


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