Halloween shout-outs

Here are some Halloween ideas for your chemistry classroom.

Tombstones for scientists

Meg Young, Lamar High School, Arlington TX found this activity on Woodrow Wilson History of Chemistry program website.

Norma Ashburn from Charleston, South Carolina shared this activity called “GHOSTS OF CHEMISTRY PAST”. Students are assigned a scientist who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of atomic science. After some research, students create a 14 x 22 tombstone, which includes the full name, the dates of birth and death, and an epitaph (a minimum of 12 lines). The epitaph should include the place the person lived and his or her contributions to atomic science. Students are also asked to be creative and design the tombstone to relate to the scientist’s research. [Go to page 8 this issue for some humorous epitaphs of scientists.]

Pumpkin Chemistry; Periodic Table of Videos

Part of the series from University of Nottingham, this six-minute video shows three ways to destroy a carved-out pumpkin using chemistry. The first is liquid nitrogen poured into a jack-o-lantern and then smashed — always a favourite and easy to do if you have liquid nitrogen readily available. The second involves a semisolid, flammable gel made with calcium acetate and ethanol which is similar to "canned heat" products such as Sterno. Different metallic salts are added to produce some nice colours from inside the pumpkin. The last is a real blast, literally with the classic thermite reaction inside a jack-o-lantern.

Steve Spangler ideas

As always, Steve Spangler has some great ideas online for Halloween fun. Steve created glow-in-the-dark pumpkins by using spray glue and zinc sulphide powder. It has a nice effect.

Another traditional Halloween demonstration is the Oozing Pumpkin – Elephant’sToothpaste (hydrogen peroxide, potassium iodide and dish detergent in a pumpkin)

And if you are throwing a Halloween party, try to make glow-in-the-dark ice cubes with tonic water.

All of the above can be found by searching “Steve Spangler and pumpkin” on YouTube.com.