GIRL SCOUTS TEST NEW YELLOW SCOPE KIT
Last week, Yellow Scope got to test out some ideas for their much anticipated next kit! And what better focus group than a local Girl Scout troop? Thirteen girls from Portland Oregon had a blast with Marcie and Kelly’s newest idea: testing acids and bases.
Marcie and Kelly could barely get through their introduction before the girls eagerly interjected to share their own experiences at science fairs or home experiments.
One had tested the pH of different soil types provided by her landscaper mother; another worked with dry ice.
When Kelly mentioned her love of high school dissection, the groans of disgust were overpowered by shrieks of excitement: "That sounds so fun!"
“We won’t be doing any dissecting today”
“AWWW!” rang the crowd.
Marcie and Kelly told the girls our culture thinks that science is for boys - how silly is that? “We want to change that message and show the world that girls are just as capable.” So let’s do this thang.
Marcie asked the girls what they associated with the word ‘chemical’?
“Non-organic food,” said one. A true Portland response. A general negative association was agreed upon. But Marcie and Kelly had chemicals’ back, and explained that we are all made of chemicals, in fact, everything on Earth is made of chemicals!
Now, what about the word ‘acid’?
“Citrus, like fruit.”
“I got citrus in my eyes once, it really hurt!”
Pretty on point really. Marcie and Kelly then talked a bit about the opposite, bases, then the fun began. And what is more fun than making things change color?
THE SETUP FOR THE YELLOW SCOPE EXPERIMENT
Turns out the liquid from a boiled red cabbage is a great indicator of acids and bases. A chemical in the cabbage called anthocyanin turns different colors when mixed with acids versus bases. The girls cut their own slivers of the underrated vegetable - the tedious boiling was skipped, cooking show style - and they were given the end product of the cabbage 'juice'.
The girls moved to the experiment tables and all got to add the cabbage juice to various liquids, like window cleaner and detergent. First though, like good scientists, they made hypotheses and wrote down their predictions.
Soon paint palettes were filling with liquid testing, and the girls got some good lessons about contamination. Woops. It’s okay, all was salvageable.
NOW TO THE pH SCALE
After supporting or disproving their hypotheses on which liquids would be acids or bases, they tested where the liquids fell on the pH scale.
pH test papers were passed around in a flurry of nail polished fingers and color matching sheets.
It was a bit of a chemistry chaos convention there for a while, as the excitement over color changing and pH diagnosing sparked debate and further experimentation.
They learned some new vocabulary like anthocyanin, chemical, acid/base, pH scale, and pipette.
There were surprising colors, smells, and results...
Afterward, celebratory science cupcakes (made by troop member Piper!) and vegetables in the shape of a human skeleton were distributed among the future scientists, but the talk of science and environmental interest didn’t stop. I kid you not, I heard one group discussing signs of pollution and endangered species.
I do think I can at least offer this word of advice before you bestow your girls with the next kit: stock up on red cabbage (and by stock up we mean buy one red cabbage, which is ‘stocking up’ in the cabbage world.)
(photos by Chelsea Schuyler,
shown by permission from parents)