DeKALB – Sara Billenstein wants to show lemon juice is more than a cooking ingredient and Alka-Seltzer can be used for more than a heartburn.
Billenstein, a senior at Northern Illinois University, created this fall’s Chem Demo Night theme – “Take-Home Science” – to show parents how they can use household items to create fun activities that could spark an interest in science with their children.
“I have children myself and thought it would be really cool if parents could go home and do these experiments with their kids,” she said.
The event, which takes place at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Faraday Hall 143, will feature demonstrations including pH indication using cabbage or milk of magnesia, how ammonia reacts with water, how to make gak (a variation on slime), and how to put a wooden skewer through a balloon without popping it.
Billenstein said the featured experiment will be one she performed during spring’s Chem Demo Night – the creation of liquid nitrogen ice cream.
Parents are not expected to remember all of the different take-home experiments, Billenstein said, noting she included links to instructions for each one in the event program that attendees will receive.
There also will be a few not-safe-for-home experiments Billenstein said would wow the crowd.
“I absolutely love it,” she said of participating in the Chem Demo Nights.
“It’s great to get to show the public what we do in the lab and how much we enjoy doing this. It might encourage some of them get into a science field down the road.”