Your Role in research
chemistry and professional orientation
This activity is facilitated by a STEM professional, students meet an actual STEM professional. The activity gives an picture of the work a scientist/researcher could do and helps the students to see science as a serious career choice. The students perform an guided chemical experiment. CaCl2, NaHCO3 and BTB are mixed in a zipper bag, the students observe what happens.
This is followed by a more open experiment in which the students repeat the first experiment but change the variables. The students then evaluate what they did during those two experiments. What was their role? What does a scientist do in these kind of experiments (e.g. selecting variables, observing, documentation)?
The facilitator could add specific skills as well, speaking from experience: persistence, diligence, patience, being able to work alone and in a team. The story of entrepreneur Ernest Solvay (he was a Belgian chemist that never had extended education but while working in his uncle’s chemical factory experimented with a lot of the same chemicals that the students use in this activity) is used as an example of a career in entrepreneurship.