Science teams from Duncan and Morenci high schools finished in second and third place, respectively, in Eastern Arizona College's 31st annual Student Chemistry Adventure competition.
The competition, known briefly as S=CH-A, involved 96 students and their teachers from rural high schools in Arizona at EAC's campus in Thatcher on April 27. In addition to Duncan and Morenci, participating high schools were Fort Thomas, Safford, Pima, Benson, Willcox and Globe.
Twenty teams composed of three or four students, competed against each other while rotating through four separate chemistry activities.
Duane DeSpain, EAC chemistry professor, led the Laboratory Competition, which had students using chemical reactions to produce hydrogen and oxygen gases and then combining those gases in an exothermic reaction that launched a small pipet rocket through the air.
Joel Shelton, chemistry professor, led the Speed Activity Competition ,where students conducted several short activities in 55 minutes.
The Knowledge Competition, led by administrative assistant, Valerie Hale, had teams working together to answer chemistry questions.
Phil McBride, EAC senior dean, had students making fluorescent “gummy worm” polymers, experimenting with dry ice, splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen in a colorfully charged solution, and determining the density of unknown metals.
After lunch, the students and teachers moved to the large lecture room in the Math-Science Building. The audience was treated to an array of colorful, loud, bright, and exciting chemical demonstrations presented by DeSpain’s organic chemistry students. Those in attendance witnessed numerous demonstrations including a special treat of ice cream made using liquid nitrogen. The audience was awed by “elephant toothpaste” which featured a spray of foam that almost reached the ceiling. The magic show culminated with a screaming, dancing, flaming gummy worm.
First place in competition went to Willcox High School's Fantastic Four team, consisting of Vinny DeRosa, Reggie Martinez, AJ Brown, Maylee Thompson and Zenailey Medina.
Duncan's second-place Periodically Great squad, consisting of Logan Basteen, Emily Hilton, Kaylee Kempton and Bryant Rapier, finished only three points (260 to 257) behind.
Representing Morenci High on the third-place Atoms Family team were Josh Biggs, Isabelle Shock and Quinton Wiltbank.
McBride, DeSpain, and Shelton expressed a special thanks to high school teachers and administrators Charles Ramsey (Benson), Becky Booth (Duncan), Dana Olson (Ft. Thomas), Sarah Steele (Globe), Marilou Cortez (Morenci), Carol Hawkins (Pima), Eric Johnston (Safford) and Kevin Davis (Willcox) for taking time to bring students to the competition.
For further information about educational and career opportunities in chemistry or other STEM fields or for information about exciting science camps being offered this summer, contact McBride at (928) 428-8404.