Prescott Regional SciTech Festival goes Virtual in 2021

We had a great line-up of activities planned when we agreed to participate as an exhibitor at the Prescott Regional SciTech Festival in 2020, but then…

…we were delighted to participate in the virtual festival in 2021!

How does a virtual science festival work? How exactly did you prepare an exhibit?

The festival organizers provided a web portal for all the virtual exhibitors, and listed a schedule of live events that exhibitors chose to host. Exhibitors also included recorded events, activities, and resources for virtual attendees.

So what is in the CAZACS virtual exhibit? We encourage you to see for yourself!

Our team of volunteers dedicated to chemistry and outreach came up with a jam-packed exhibit! We posted a video about how to make slime at home, a video showing how LEGOs can teach molecular modeling, and a video for a behind-the-scenes tour of Mother Road Brewing Company (and their chemistry lab, of course!). We posted a graphic novel about MOSHY, Marvelous Oxygen and its Sidekick Hemoglobin, and highlighted favorite activities and resources for the upcoming Chemists Celebrate Earth Week 2021.

CAZACS is also hosting live events, including Periodic Table Bingo (with prizes) and a Superhero Chemistry panel discussion.

We also posted other cool resources that we found on the vast internet, such as the CovidSIM game from Ask a Biologist, a chemistry in the kitchen video from the Arizona Museum of Natural History, and highlighted videos and activities for CCEW 2021 Virtual Kids Zone.

Some of the other cool exhibits we saw at the virtual festival included the Maricopa County Air Quality Department, Eagle Aero Sport, the Society of Physics Students, and the Undergraduate Research Groups.

Many thanks to our volunteers in building this exhibit, Teresa Eaton & her students, Christina Forbes, George C. Galliher III, Kathryn Kitzmiller, and Caitlan Patcher!

National Chemistry Week 2020 Illustrated Poetry Contest Winners!

Congratulations to all of our local section winners, and thank you (parents, students, and teachers) for your submissions!

Grades 9-12

1st Place Luc Pillsbury (Horizon High School)
2nd Place Jennifer Hernandez (Sierra Linda High School)
3rd Place Maya Lewis (Betty Fairfax High School)
Honorable Mention: Amy Amaro (Sierra Linda High School)

Luc’s poem was submitted to the national contest for 9-12 category. Congrats Luc!

Grades 6-8

1st Place Thao Nguyen (Connolly Middle School)
2nd Place Laura Amanda (Benchmark School)
3rd Place Deanna Pung (Connolly Middle School)
Honorable Mentions: James Klopfenstein (Benchmark School), Yadira Calderon Vargas (Connolly Middle School)

Thao’s poem was submitted to the national contest for 6-8 category. Congrats Thao!

Grades 3-5

1st Place Athena Nastasia (Benchmark School)
2nd Place Kadyn Hysong (Benchmark School)
3rd Place Campbell Reader (Benchmark School)
Honorable Mentions: Alexa King (Benchmark School), Isabella Maxie (Benchmark School)

Athena’s poem was submitted to the national contest for 3-5 category. Congrats Athena!

Thank you to all of the students for submitting your illustrated poems, and thank you to their teachers and parents for encouraging them to participate!

Chemists Celebrate Earth Week 2020 Illustrated Poetry Contest Winners!

In spite of having to cancel in-person events, the Illustrated Poetry Contest forged ahead online for this year’s Chemists Celebrate Earth Week! K-12 students from the Central Arizona local section submitted illustrated poems focused on the theme, “Protecting our Planet through Chemistry.” To say the least, our judges had a tough time deciding on the winning poems! Congratulations to all of our local section winners, and thank you (parents, students, and teachers) for your submissions!

Grades 6-8

1st Place Emma Benedek (6th grade, Benchmark School)
2nd Place Gabriela Domenzain-Vera (8th grade, Desert Shadows Middle School)
3rd Place Isabella Lawrence (8th grade, Connolly Middle School)
Honorable Mentions: Luc Pillsbury (8th grade, Desert Shadows Middle School), Braeden Lewis (8th grade, Benchmark School)

Emma’s poem was submitted to the national contest for 6-8 category. Congrats Emma!

Grades 3-5

1st Place Sullivan Reader (3rd grade, Benchmark School)
2nd Place Kolton Koepke (3rd grade, Benchmark School)
3rd Place Caylee LaMere (4th grade, Desert Harbor Elementary)
Honorable Mentions: Alexa King (3rd grade, Benchmark School), Dev Ravikumar (3rd grade, Benchmark School)

Sullivan’s poem was submitted to the national contest for 3-5 category. Congrats Sullivan!

Thank you to all of the students for submitting your illustrated poems, and thank you to their teachers and parents for encouraging them to participate!

In light of COVID-19: Announcements and Educational Resources

This will be a short update, but we wanted to let you know about several upcoming events that were cancelled in response to the recent viral outbreak.

The following events have been cancelled:

March 28, Musical Instrument Museum “Unlocking the Secrets of the Stradivarius”

April 2, Eyring Lecture and Reception

April 4, Prescott Regional SciTech Festival

April 4, AZAstroBio Symposium

April 9, STEM on Tap (suspended indefinitely)

April 18, Future of Food Webcast (will be rescheduled at a later date)

April 19, Chemists Celebrate Earth Week in-person events and hands-on activities

May 23-26, Chemistry Cafe at Phoenix Fan Fusion (rescheduled with Phoenix Fan Fusion until September)

The following events are proceeding (as of March 16):

Chemists Celebrate Earth Week Illustrated Poetry Contest (contact Christina if you want to know more about this)

April 18, By-laws Review & Open Forum (This will be a web/phone meeting)

 

Furthermore, the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) has unlocked some online materials through March 31. They have units in a variety of chemistry topics for all age groups. If you are teaching children at home, or if you are an educator that needs to teach material online, you can find these valuable resources here.

YCC Tours Heliae in Gilbert

CAZACS Younger Chemists Committee recently organized a tour of Heliae’s global headquarters in Gilbert. It may seem like a tucked-away corner of a commercial complex and some greenhouses, but there’s a lot going on at Heliae! Several students from ASU and a few science teachers from Gilbert School District joined the afternoon tour on Friday, February 26.

What does Heliae (Heel-E-ay) do? They grow unique algae strains on industrial scale, and these algae can do a lot! One of Heliae’s main products, Phycoterra, is used to help restore soil structure and health. After many cycles of conventional farming, even with proper crop rotation, soils can become depleted of nutrients and loose water retention, changing the microbiology. The algae in Phycoterra helps to boost healthy microbial growth in the soil, which improves water retention, soil structure, and nutrient bio-availability. Restoring soil health can promote more robust root growth in plants, which increases crop yields for farmers. Some of Heliae’s other algae strains can produce large amounts of antioxidants or oils. These useful materials are harvested from the algae.

Our tour was in-depth, and we had a chance to meet a lot of the staff and leadership team! We had a great conversation with the VP of Operations, whom reviewed of the science, challenges, and opportunities at Heliae. We also had the opportunity to talk about the career pathways at Heliae with the Director of HR. She highlighted important non-technical skills that they look for in new hires (hopefully the undergrads took note of this valuable advice!). We checked out the strain development lab, where new algae strains are isolated and refined. We also had a chance to see the small and medium scale bio reactors, where the algae strains are grown for seeding the larger bioreactors. In another area, we checked out two of the larger bioreactors in action. We also explored Heliae’s on-site greenhouses, which are used for testing the algal products on a variety of different plants and growing conditions.

We had a lot of fun exploring the biology end of the STEM spectrum, and it was very cool to see some of the science at this global company in this corner of Gilbert. Thank you Heliae staff and leadership for taking the time with CAZACS on this tour!

 

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