Introducing Chemical Reactions concepts in K-6 through a hands-on food spherification and spaghetti–fication experiment

  • Anju Gupta Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Nicole Hill
  • Patricia Valenzuela
  • Eric P Johnson
Keywords: K-12, hand-on activity


Recruiting students in STEM majors to fill the gap in STEM workforce in a continued challenge, which can be addressed by introducing scientific principles through hand-on activities to the students at an early stage. This paper presents the design, implementation and assessment of a chemistry-related workshop for sixth grade students that were recruited through the local City School District program. The students were introduced to the concepts in chemical reactions through “food spherification and spaghetti–fication”. The workshop included 1) pre- activity survey, 2) a short lecture on chemical reactions and the hands-on activity procedure, 3) hands-on activity to form spheres and spaghetti from fruit juice and, 4) post- activity survey. The participants included 15 female and 2 male students mostly from underrepresented communities. The long term goals of this program include 1) design and implementation of a safe, reproducible, economical scientific hands-on activity, and 2) increased participation of local middle school students in summer programs at the blinded university.

Author Biography

Anju Gupta, Rochester Institute of Technology
Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering Rochester Institute of Technology