National Chemistry Week, an outreach program initiated by the American Chemical Society (ACS), encourages scientists to bring their love of chemistry to their community. Celebrated nationwide, ACS invites businesses, schools, and individuals to organize and participate in community events to promote the value of chemistry in everyday life. The Purdue graduate student chapter of Iota Sigma Pi, a national honor society for women in chemistry, annually organizes one such celebration. On a normal year, this event is a large logistical undertaking in which 100+ volunteers go directly to over 70 local elementary school classrooms and perform a series of activities and experiments pertaining to an annual theme with over 1200 kids. In 2020, we devised a way to continue to share our love of chemistry despite the new challenges. Here in, we discuss the preparation of over 1300 experiment kits which we delivered to five different schools, giving teachers the choice to either do them as an in-class activity or send them home to enhance e-learning. Additionally, we filmed an accompanying YouTube video explaining each activity and relevant science context. The preparation of this event helped us reflect on some issues of scientific communication and education under the circumstances of a pandemic. Special attention was employed in making the videos more accessible by providing English and Spanish subtitles, including audio description of the experiments and use of cheap and widely available materials to reach a wider audience. We have completely changed how we do our community events and learned new skills to improve our digital scientific communication in a post-pandemic world. In this article, we want to discuss and the challenges we faced in moving this event online and changes we made to reach more people and have some fun with science.
Kelley, Ilayda and Mesa Sanchez, Daniela
"National Chemistry Week: From IRL to the Web,"
Purdue Journal of Service-Learning and International Engagement: Vol. 8
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/pjsl/vol8/iss1/14
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