Natural Science Experience Day at University of Education, The University of Da Nang

Within the framework of MOMA project, a Science Open Day was organized on the 31st of March, 2019 by the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Physics, at University of Science and Education, The University of Danang (UED-UD). This is an effort to spread scientific knowledge to the local community, especially to high school students.

Over 500 students from 5 high schools around the area have participated in different activities during the Open Day. The organizer decided to let the participants experience all the experiments in seven laboratories of the two Departments so that the participants could have a sense of how a scientific laboratory looks like. This has made a great impression on the students as many of them hopped around one lab to another one to ask questions to demonstrators. The two Departments offered numbers of scientific posters, models and hands-on experiments to the participants. To assist the audiences, over 30 senior students of two Departments enthusiastically helped with the demonstration and supervising all over the exhibition area.

The experiments exhibited in the Open Day ranged from simple experiments in everyday life to more sophisticated research ones. The design of those experiments aimed to enforce the scientific knowledge obtained from high school and inspire the passion for science.

Mrs. Thu, a lecturer of Danang Univeristy of Polytechnique said: “This is the first time ever this kind of activities has been held in Danang University. As an academic staff, I believe that this event can contribute to inspire students with scientific subjects at high school and orient them with their future career pathway. I bring my two kids here to experience the hands-on experiments so that they can understand how scientific knowledge can be applied in daily life.”

Ms. An, a student from Phan Chau Trinh high school excitedly said: “At school, we only obtain chemistry and physics knowledge from text books. This is a precious chance for us to observe chemistry and physics experiments. Especially, we also have chance to conduct those experiments ourselves. It is really excited and fun. I and my friend enjoyed them a lot. I hope that I can participate in such activities in the future.”

The following is some pictures we took in the Open Day from Departments of Chemistry and Physics. We prepared the posters for each experiment we performed so that the audiences can follow in case they cannot see the demonstration.

The students participated in the experiment called “Mysterious black snake” with familiar materials like sugar, sand, and soda. The burning of the material mixture gave rise to formation of carbonate product in a form of a snake. Although there was a little delay for the snake to appear, the group was buzzing with excitement once it came out. Many pupils loved trying again and again.
Female students were attracted by the “lipstick making” session with the natural colour from plants and other ingredients such as: paraffin, coconut oil, and vitamins. The poster of this procedure was also presented so that the students can try to make a lipstick at home if they want.  Some of them excitedly left the area with a lipstick made by themselves.
There was an experiment showing how to extract lemongrass essential oils. The students were eager to observe the extraction procedure of the oil that their mom has usually use at home and enjoy the smell from pure essential oils.
They also knew how to treat waste water chemically. This experiment required a slightly advanced knowledge, however it could inspire the love of chemistry within the students.
The “factory chimneys” experiment was also exciting to the students. The reaction between KMnO4 and hydroperoxide produced a “smoking chimney” containing oxygen gas and water vapor. Through this reaction, students have understood the redox activity of KMnO4 and H2O2. So many wanted to try that the demonstrator even run out of chemicals.
The students experienced the “invisible ink” experiment from lime juice. They were impressed by how heat from a stove can change the colour of CoCl2 solution from light pink to blue. The idea of colour changing of solution upon dehydration from text book became visualized in this experiment.

A group of students were observing how to chemically distinguish different chemicals. This kind of knowledge has been taught in classes but this was the first time they have had chance to practically apply it.

Some young lecturers and students of Chemistry department

The students were so excited not only participating in many attractive experiments in Chemistry laboratories, but also at labs of Physics Department. Especially, they were able to explain some simple and funny Physics experiments and observe some modern equipment.

The equipment next to the demonstrator is called Van de Graaff electrostatic generator. Some simple experiments were performed using this machine, such as the small metal sphere dancing, lightening creation, or making people’s hair stand up. These experiments attracted the attention of many students and most of them could understand and explain the phenomena based on the physics knowledge they have learnt.

 

The funny physics experiments section was the most attractive part to the students. At this section, the students can not only watch the demonstrators perform some simple experiments with potatoes, lemons, balloons and eggs, but also perform these experiments themselves. With each experiment, there were some questions about phenomenon prediction and explanation. There were a lot of arms raised to answer the questions. Each correct answer received a nice small gift.

Students were also excited when seeing some modern equipment for the first time, such as X-ray diffraction, Ultraviolet-Visible spectrophotometer and electric furnace. The technical staff explained the operation principle of these machines so that the students could understand their operation as well as applications.

The first ever Open Day has ended with positive and excited feedback from the participants. This event was hoped to become an annual event within the University. Last words, we would like to thank the teams of lecturers and college students of the two Departments who are indispensable parts for the success of the Open Day.