Chemistry-physics club students work on projects

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 20, 2008

This year is the &8220;kick off&8221; for a new chemistry-physics club. Eleven members have been recruited so far. The club meets in room F-111 every Friday from 7 to 8 a.m. and after school from 3 to 5 to work on projects.

These are some of the student projects:

Jake Winkels listened to a recorded radio transmission between Apollo-13 and ground control in Houston, Texas. He calculated the distance to the moon by using the time it took for one part of the transmission to travel to the moon and back to Earth. Of course, he knew that the speed of the radio wave was 186,000 m.p.h. and he included lag-time adjustments.

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Spencer Bonnerup determined the line emission spectra of various metals. That is, he took a metal salt (a metal combined with an acid) and vaporized it in a flame. He viewed the light that was emitted, through a prism. He found that each metal emits different colors; for example, sodium emits a yellow dominant wave length, while strontium emits a bright red. He then proceeded to identify unknown metal salt samples, after creating his &8220;known&8221; line-emission spectra data list.

William Sturtz visited Web sites of college astronomy departments and has done various interactive Web activities, including &8220;The Doppler Effect&8221; and &8220;Parallax.&8221;

Other projects included making salt crystals, so that we could examine three dimensional examples of the seven basic crystalline structures. The type of salt used, determined the shape the crystal. A can of sterno was another interesting project, made by Vihang Mehta.

Sterno is used as a fuel source that is placed underneath a fondue set. Members thought they should have had a fondue party!

Students present &8216;Treasure Island&8217;

On March 6, the Hawthorne fifth- and sixth-graders presented the musical &8220;Treasure Island.&8221; All of the students were involved in the performance, with about 25 acting on the stage. The musical, based on Robert Louis Stevenson&8217;s novel of the same name, showcased vocal solos performed by Michael Whitten in the role of Jim Hawkins and Tim Furland, Sydney Overgaard and Carter Dahl in the roles of Long John Silver, Alan and O&8217;Brien (Long John&8217;s fellow pirates). The students had a great time learning all eight songs and learning a bit about pirate life.

With the help of Andrea Harves, art teacher, there were some cool sets and awesome make up.