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Firing Up A Passion For Science

| Learning | July 21, 2014

(My chemistry teacher in high school is a bit of a pyromaniac.)

Teacher: “Today, we’re going to learn about endothermic and exothermic reactions. [Student #1], can you hold this jar for me?”

(Student #1 holds the plastic jar that has two nails driven into the sides. The teacher pours a chemical into the jar, and closes the jar with a rubber cork.)

Teacher: “Okay, [Student #1], I can take the jar. [Student #2], can you take this copper coil and touch one of the nails?”

(Student #2 does as directed, and the rubber cork shoots across the room, putting a dent into the whiteboard.)

Teacher: “Okay, that was an exothermic reaction, caused by electricity. As you can see, the chemical is still on fire. Watch this.”

(The teacher pours the chemical out onto the floor, where it continues to be on fire.)

Teacher: “I love having tile floors. Now watch this.”

(The teacher pours more of the chemical into a line, connecting to the line that is currently on fire. The flame starts to crawl along the line.)

Teacher: “This is also an exothermic reaction.”

Student #3: “Um, Ms. [Teacher], you got some of the chemical on the table leg. Isn’t the table made of wood?”

Teacher: “Oh, crap. Does anyone have a bottle of water handy so I can cause a quick endothermic reaction?”

(This teacher also set fire to an M&M, made Dragon’s Breath for fun, and showed us how marshmallow Peeps inflate and deflate in a vacuum chamber.)

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