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Learning by Teaching

July 6, 2012

Category: A Closer Look

Fresno State students teach science as they learn. Funded by an Engaged Department Implementation Grant, the undergraduates prepare demonstration experiments as part of the general education Chemistry and Society course, first-year general chemistry laboratories, and upper-division analytical chemistry course. In partnership with the local non-profit Discovery Science Center, the Fresno State Chemistry Department conducts one-hour labs throughout the academic year for kindergarten through 6th grade students. These events allow children the opportunity to learn from both CSU undergraduates and faculty.



Undergraduates in the first year chemistry courses design easy chemistry experiments using household chemicals and materials. This activity introduces kids to squishy circuits, and undergraduates explained the concepts of ions, charge and electronic charge as a system to conduct energy.

Safety first. Guided by Fresno State undergraduates, a young student practices good, safe lab techniques.

Active learning involves the students doing, rather than just watching. Unable to resist the chance to see science at work, family members often get involved in the activity with the children. The activity here shows photoactivation of sun-activated paper.

Chemical reactions are cool! A collection of reactions from the school age children gives a glimpse at how well Fresno State undergraduates did in communicating the fun of science. Families and undergraduates also get a chance to react to the service-learning activities.

The best result hoped for is the engagement of students, especially those who may become Fresno State science majors. This student has been coming to all of the activities this year; he hopes to become a scientist in the future and to attend Fresno State as a chemistry major.

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