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Chemistry Festival Introduces Chemistry into Daily Lives

The words “enjoy” and “chemistry” often aren’t used together by parents: In many homes, the subject instead is associated with anxiety, stress and trepidation. However, recently an activity named TJU Chemistry Festival held in the Labor Union Building of Tianjin University has subverted our traditional impressions of chemistry. This crowd-pleasing event is jointly organized by the American Chemical Society (ACS) JingJinJi Chapter and the Tianjin University Student Chapter. 

Children receive souvenirs and enjoy the interactive activities at the Chemistry Festival 

The Chemistry Festival is a community event that unites the efforts of hundreds of volunteers whom, through simple interactive demos (hands-on activities), emphasize the importance of chemistry in our everyday life. This activity is designed for the public in general, especially children, to educate them about chemical concepts, while communicating the value and impact of chemistry in our daily lives. 

This event has attracted thousands of primary and middle school students and their parents. Various hands-on experiments have been performed over the years by the volunteers. These volunteers are Tianjin University students and receive basic chemistry training before the event. Being conscious of experimental safety and familiar with the experimental process, they are able to perform the demonstrations and to teach attendees about the chemical concepts behind the performances. Protective goggles and white gowns are delivered to those participants.  

A volunteer illustrates the pH levels experiment with natural indicators 

These stimulating experiments include building biodegradable blocks, testing pH levels with natural indicators, connecting a fruit battery, poking a polymer, observing how glow sticks light up. The most popular exhibition booth is building biodegradable blocks. Due to the existence of the intermolecular forces of corn starch, children can stick colorful blocks together with the help of water. They can build castles, flowers and different patterns on their own. Poking a polymer is also fascinating, with the volunteers demonstrating the power of polymers to children with leak-proof Ziploc bags. Those children who participate in all experiments can obtain exquisite souvenirs, such as dolls, chopsticks and books. They are all excited about being scientists, while some extrovert children have even also taken photos with several amicable international professors. 


Professors and volunteers take photos with the display board 

The Chemistry Festival aims to help children gain a greater practical and theoretical understanding of chemistry. These demonstration are designed for children to feel, taste and touch chemistry so that they can develop an interest to unravel more of its mysteries.  

“I have grown my passion for chemistry through this activity. It is such surprise that chemistry is all around us” one of the participants told us. This activity has changed his stereotypes about chemistry, which is exactly its purpose. The organizers hope they can arouse an interest in chemicals in both children and their parents so that they will learn to cherish the value of chemistry in our daily lives. This is also what TJU is striving for, the spread of more scientific knowledge to more people.  

By: WANG HUITING 

Editor: QIN MIAN and CHRISTOPHER PETER CLARKE