The workshops listed below are workshops that require an RSVP in advance; you can see the full conference schedule here:    Workshops are organized first chronologically & then alphabetically

Limited Capacity Workshops

shutterstock_1011693778 [Converted].png

Bridging the Gap between the School and the Community through STEM

Monday: 8:00 - 9:30 am

Maria Maderal, Francis Marion University Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty.

Parents, guardians, and siblings of the high school students were involved in designing and constructing identified take-home STEM projects which increased the communication between the parents, guardians, siblings, students and the teacher involved in the research.  Six identified STEM take-home projects were considered based on the schedule given, the corresponding area of concentration, the New Generation Science Standards (NGSS) covered and date of implementation.


Elementary Rural Outreach Chemistry For Kids (R.O.C.K.): We Will ROCK You!

Monday: 8:00 - 9:30 am

Rose Clark, The Pittsburgh Conference/Saint Francis University (PA)

The R.O.C.K. Program aims to provide easy to perform chemistry learning activities for children (& teachers!) in order to relate chemistry to everyday occurrences. We will collaboratively perform well-liked R.O.C.K. experiments such as Instant Snow & Polymer Chemistry, Oily Oceans, and Oobleck. Connections to reading books/stories for all of the activities will be discussed as we turn STEM into STEAM. We will provide for teacher discussion on how to best adapt the activities to their classrooms. Scripts for all of the activities will be provided to the workshop participants.


Microscopic Mycelium: Growing Sustainable Solutions

Monday: 8:00 - 8:55 am

Cassandra Knutson, Beyond Benign proposal 154

Explore how GrowBio materials can give students the power to design, create, and test products grown from mycelium and agricultural waste!

In our workshop, teachers will be introduced to green chemistry, learn about the wealth of resources available for free from Beyond Benign, participate in a “make-and-take” activity showcasing a green chemistry in industry lesson, and learn about ways to incorporate GrowBio materials into a variety of chemistry units including gas laws, thermochemistry, and materials science. Come learn how this polystyrene packaging alternative can capture the imagination of the next generation of problem solvers.


Particulate Activities for Teaching Chemistry

Monday: 8:00 - 8:55 am

Alice Putti, Jenison High School (40) proposal 150

Workshop participants will participate in three inquiry/particulate level activities that were developed as part of the Target InquiryProgram:

All things being equal


My Acid is stronger than your acid

Activities will cover chemistry topics on acid-base chemistry, electrochemistry, and equilibrium. Workshop participants will also be introduced to the Target Inquiry website where they will learn how to gain access to student and teacher guides for over 50 inquiry-based chemistry activities. Participants will receive a set of manipulatives for all activities.


Play with Your Students to Build Understanding

Monday: 8:00 - 9:30 am

Daniella Fisher, University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College  Proposal 174

This hands‐on, interactive workshop is for chemistry/science educators who wish to introduce, practice and assess abstract concepts with upper elementary, middle and high school, and beginning college students through the use of common building blocks. The use of LEGO™ blocks provides a familiar, and fun, avenue to relate a concept, promote student interaction and engage the kinesthetic, visual, and auditory aspects of learning. Workshop participants will be lead through a typical class lecture as applied to teaching introductory chemistry. Examples of concepts taught include classification of matter, introduction to the periodic table, and chemical formulas. Advanced applications include electron configurations, balancing chemical reaction equations, and practicing critical thinking and effective written communications. Using the blocks as an alternative assessment tool will be explored. Each participant will receive a set of lesson plans and an example block set.


Teaching Science with Toys for Grades K-5

Monday: 8:00 - 11:15 am

Karen Levitt, Duquesne University

The Teaching Science with Toys workshop encourages teachers to have students ask questions about toys and then find the answers about basic principles of chemistry.


Paper Science for K-8

Monday: 9:10 - 11:15 am

Sally Mitchell, Rye High School  Proposal 250

Learn to make paper with your students and experience the chemistry behind paper science.

Participants will learn the science and art behind paper and then learn how to make paper with their students. Paper science is easy to incorporate into the K-8 curriculum. Participants will use science, mathematics, new technologies and engineering principles in this workshop.


Super Active Learning with Superstore Items

Monday: 9:45 - 11:15 am

Bernadette Harkness, Delta College  Proposal 218

This workshop will provide several tools and approaches that facilitate breakthrough learning of difficult concepts in Introductory and General Chemistry. Using low-cost items such as nuts, bolts, pasta, playdoh, plastic eggs and other items, participants will engage in activities that provide a tangible and tactile representation of the particulate nature of matter. Topics addressed include stoichiometry, limiting reactants, percent yield, empirical formulas, isotopes, dissociation, and atomic shape. Each participant will receive electronic lesson files to use in the classroom and a small sample of selected supplies. The workshop will use a modular/station layout allowing participants the flexibility to select their most relevant activities and spend adequate time at each station.


Teaching Science with Toys for Grades 6-8

Monday: 1:25 - 3:30 pm

Karen Levitt, Duquesne University

The Teaching Science with Toys workshop encourages teachers to have students ask questions about toys and then find the answers about basic principles of chemistry.


Hands-On Activities to Show that Light Energy is Quantized

Monday: 2:00 - 3:30 pm

Susan Zawacky, Pittcon Proposal 180 –

We will show a PI video for introduction, and then guide participants in performing two PI activities: Measuring Planck's Constant, and Quantum Effects with Glow-Stars. Measuring Planck's Constant requires use of simple electronic equipment (multi-meter, resistors, potentiometer, LED's wire and small breadboard, 9 V battery), but no electrical outlets. The set up can be quickly assembled by 10th graders with no knowledge of circuits, using a photo (provided). Quantum Effects with Glow-Stars requires Glow-Stars plus a few pieces of colored cellophane filter.




Adding T-E-A in Chemistry

Tuesday: 8:00 - 10:05 am

Bernoli Baello, The Prairie School Proposal 270

Structure, properties and changes are the perennial themes in the Chemistry curriculum. Using mainly the four general types of materials of materials science and engineering (metals, ceramics/glass, polymers and composites), not only are these themes addressed but technology, engineering and art are also incorporated. Some of the activities and accompanying content that will be presented include the use of cornstarch and plaster of Paris to experience the process of engineering design, from preparing oobleck to making composites. We will also look at metals like iron, copper and tin to learn how their properties make them relevant to daily life and even artistic value by applying electricity and heat to them, as well as their reactions (corrosion). Ceramics, glass (soda lime and tempered glass) and polymers (like polyethylene, polystyrene, polyvinyl alcohol, etc.) will be used to look at how the variety of their properties (including hydrophobicity, strength, density, cohesive and adhesive properties) have improved life and also presented problems that need to be tackled by our future scientists and engineers.


²Building Sustainable Solutions: Blackberry Solar Cells

Tuesday: 8:00 - 8:55 am

Cassandra Knutson, Beyond Benign Proposal 205

In this make-and-take workshop, we will build dye-sensitized solar cells using blackberries. We will explore how labs like this can engage students in green chemistry principles and real world problems and their solutions. We will specifically consider the world’s energy needs and solar technology. We will look at the negative impacts of traditional solar cells and current advances in solar technology.


Target Inquiry - Avogadro's Airbag

Tuesday: 8:00 - 8:55am

Doug Ragan, Hudsonville High School (capacity 30) - proposal 64

“Students can solve problems about gases without knowing anything much about the nature of a gas, and they can solve limiting-reagent problems without understanding the nature of chemical change.” (Nurrenbern & Pickering, 1987). Though a student may be able to solve gas law problems, they may not understand the aspects of the problem conceptually. In this lab, students discuss gas laws in practical ways to solve the airbag problem presented. Although some students could do this with computation, most do it by thinking about relationships among the quantities. Students think, “If the temperature decreases, then the volume should decrease too. Then how would a smaller amount product affect the amount of reactant I need?

The students will need to use the ideal gas law to calculate the moles of gas produced by the simulated airbag in the lab. Students also will need to consider the stoichiometric ratios of carbon dioxide to the starting materials (baking soda and citric acid). This guide contains sample data and step-by-step calculations that show the key chemistry content. All materials will be provided at no cost, including Student and Teacher Guides.


Target Inquiry Periodic Table Trendsetter

Tuesday: 8:00 - 8:55am

Chad Husting, Sycamore High School (capacity of 30) - proposal 66

There are many periodic table labs out there. This target inquiry lab is one of the best!

This activity is based on the target inquiry lab “Trendsetter” by Deanna Cullen. Students discover patterns, trends and properties of the periodic table. The pre lab involves general vocabulary and atomic properties. The first part of the lab students start to build a periodic table without knowing the elements on the cards provided. They look for patterns and trends among the cards. The second part is a wet lab that involves examining some trends in a family of elements. Students then finish with more cards and they try to identify the “mystery element” based on the surrounding properties of other elements. By the time they finish, students have mastered the periodic law by recreating many of the same processes done by Mendeleev. As a teacher, you will be able to cut out ninety percent of lecture concerning the periodic table and keep students engaged in learning.


Mass Spectroscopy Explained with a Straight Forward Demonstration

Tuesday: 9:10 - 10:05 am

Stefan Panzilius, Maine West High School  (proposal 59)

This make-and-take workshop will have participants construct the materials needed to demonstrate how mass spectroscopy works at a conceptual level.

Using 1'x1' white board, a magnet, a ramp, and a series of various sized steel shot, the demonstration will show how a magnet can separate the different massed objects after they have been accelerated down a ramp. When done well, the demonstration can also show how the data collected from a mass spectroscopy machine is turned into a graphical representation.


Thinking Small: An Inquiry-based Curriculum for Particulate-level Chemistry

Tuesday: 10:20 - 11:15 am

Chad Bridle, Grandville High School (capacity 30) - proposal 52

Establishing a common, correct conception of the particle-nature of matter is key to the effective learning of chemistry. This workshop will equip teachers with Target Inquiry curriculum and instructional practices to help them develop these conceptions early in the school year. Students will cooperatively create common models of states of matter, elements, compounds and mixtures as well as physical and chemical changes through argumentation. Students will connect their particle-level understandings to observations of matter and symbolic representations of matter.


An Electrochemistry Lab developed as part of Target Inquiry

Tuesday: 1:25-2:20 pm

Deanna Cullen, HS Editor ChemEd X, Whitehall High School - retired (capacity of 36) - proposal 146

Complete this Target Inquiry electrochemistry lab designed to make connections between the macroscopic, symbolic and particulate-level. This workshop is intended for those that hope to gain confidence in teaching electrochemistry. Participants will complete the lab with their student hat on, but we will also put our teacher hats on to discuss how to implement the lab using inquiry practices. Thanks to a generous grant, participants will take home classroom sets of the models and some other supplies.


Food in the Chemistry Classroom

Tuesday: 1:25 - 3:30 pm

Sunil Malapati, Clarke University Proposal 203

Exploring Chemistry through Food makes science fun and approachable to a student while providing an endless array of everyday examples to teach chemical concepts. This mini-workshop will provide the participants with hands-on activities, demonstrations, discovery-based lessons, and small experiments that will focus on chemical transformations using food. Basic chemical concepts such as pH, gas laws, reaction rates, nature of heat & energy will be explored in addition to cutting-edge molecular gastronomy techniques that will excite faculty and students alike. Participants will take home classroom and laboratory activities that have been tested and can be plugged into their chemistry courses. The materials shared here are featured in an upcoming book titled ‘Food in the Chemistry Class”.


Soap Making: Good for Teaching Basic Concepts and Good for your Community

Tuesday: 1:25 - 3:30 pm

Sue Klemmer, Camden Hills Regional High School Proposal 41

We will work collaboratively to make batches of hot and cold processed soap. Why make time for this activity? Making an everyday material via a collaborative process really engages my students. It allows students to give back to their community. We make enough soap for students plus give a batch to a local homeless shelter. Third, soap making is a memorable application of basic chemistry concepts. Retroactively we review ideas on heat: hot processed soap is ready to use in 24 hours while cold-processed soap takes 6 weeks. We also review limiting reactants: the DIY experts all emphasize making sure that lye is limiting, so that the resulting soap is safe. We also use this event proactively to create experiences we can draw upon later in the course. For example, we measure the pH of both soaps over the 6 weeks and later explain the decline via acid-base neutralization.

During the workshop you will see how I organize soap-making teams, what research I have them do as the soap cures and the resources I provide, and how I assess their knowledge.

NOTE: You will need to come back after 24 hours to pick up your soap!


Transition Metal Chemistry is in the Bag

Tuesday: 1:25 - 2:20 pm

Diana Mason, University of North Texas Proposal 67

Assemble a classroom set of baggies and you are done for a lifetime. This activity can be performed as a classroom demo on overhead visualizers or as a student-inquiry laboratory to differentiate between various manganese-oxide compounds, or as a combination of demo and lab experiences. Topics using manganese-oxide compounds include: physical and chemical properties, density, paramagnetic and diamagnetic properties, nomenclature, multiple oxidation states, periodicity, electron configuration, electronegativity, Lewis dot structures, ionic and covalent bonding, resonance, formal charge, hybridization, bonding shapes and angles, and solubility.


Chocolate Hot Spots

Tuesday: 2:35 - 3:30 pm

Diana Mason, University of North Texas Proposal 68

This is a fun lab to allow consumer chemists to confirm the frequency printed on their residential microwave ovens. Students will calculate frequency using the speed of light and wavelength. Your more advanced students will continue with the data provided by measuring the distance between hot spots on a microwaved large chocolate bar and calculate energy using Planck's constant, the speed of light, and wavelength. No safety issues and no clean up when all the chocolate is consumed!


Rural Outreach Chemistry For Kids (R.O.C.K.): We Will ROCK You!

Tuesday: 2:00 - 3:30 pm

Edward Zovinka, The Pittsburgh Conference/ Saint Francis University (PA) Proposal 26

The R.O.C.K. Program aims to provide easy to perform chemistry learning activities for children (& teachers!) in order to relate chemistry to everyday occurrences. We will collaboratively perform well-liked R.O.C.K. experiments such as Diaper Chemistry, the Effect of Temperature on glow sticks, Does Surface Area Matter?, If the Earth was a Cookie, and Surface Tension. During the diaper chemistry activity, we will "dissect" a diaper, examine sodium polyacrylate, and how osmosis drives the disposable diaper industry. Glow sticks will be used to highlight what must happen for chemical reactions to occur and we will use Alka Seltzer tablets to explore the importance of surface area in a chemical reaction. We will conclude with some quick activities using cookies and pennies. We will provide for teacher discussion on how to best adapt the activities to their classrooms. Scripts for all of the activities will be provided to the workshop participants.




Construction of a Simple Device to Measure Kinetic Data in the Coke & Mentos Experiment

Wednesday: 8:00 - 8:55 am

Tom Kuntzleman, Spring Arbor University Proposal 199

The Coke and Mentos experiment is fascinating to students, but it is quite messy and difficult to carry out in a manner that leads to quantitative measurement. In this workshop, participants will learn how to construct a simple device that solves these problems. Using only PVC pipe, a tornado tube, empty soda bottles, a saw and a drill, it is possible to construct a contraption that allows the Coke and Mentos experiment to be carried out indoors in a mess-free, quantitative manner. The device is amenable for in-class demonstrations, and it also allows for hands-on investigations by students. The apparatus allows for several investigations such as the relationship between degassing kinetics and temperature, which carbonated beverage works the best, and whether diet or regular soda works better. It is even possible to use the device to determine the activation energy of the degassing of carbon dioxide from Coke via an Arrhenius analysis. Each participant will make-and-take home their own “Coke and Mentos Measurer”.


Modeling Energy in Chemistry

Wednesday: 8:00 -9:30 am

Chad Bridle, Grandville High School (capacity 30) - proposal 51

Establishing a common, correct conception of the particle-nature of matter and energy is key to the effective learning of chemistry. This workshop will equip teachers with curriculum developed by AACT members as well as instructional practices to help students develop a particle-level model of energy. Students will build arguments around how energy is transferred between matter and how changes in energy impact matter. Students will use their models to explain phase changes at the macroscopic level, symbolically through bar graphs and at the particle-level. Establishing matter and energy conceptions routines early in the year help facilitate the learning of chemistry the rest of the school year.


A Very Cool Investigation

Wednesday: 8:00 - 8:55 am

Ryan Schoenborn, Coopersville Area Public Schools (capacity 30) - proposal 20

I will be presenting a lab activity that was developed as part of my participation in the Target Inquiry Program at Grand Valley State University. It is a guided inquiry format that helps students to explore and use thermodynamics. The student will determine how many cold pack would be necessary in order to save a patient using therapeutic hypothermia.


²Building Sustainable Solutions: Blackberry Solar Cells

Wednesday: 9:10 - 10:05 am

Cassandra Knutson, Beyond Benign Proposal 205a

In this make-and-take workshop, we will build dye-sensitized solar cells using blackberries. We will explore how labs like this can engage students in green chemistry principles and real world problems and their solutions. We will specifically consider the world’s energy needs and solar technology. We will look at the negative impacts of traditional solar cells and current advances in solar technology.


Silk Scarf Tie-Dye

Wednesday: 9:10 - 11:15 am  

Joanna Yanaga, Baxter Proposal 177

Each participant will use fiber reactive dyes to create a "traditional" tie-dye or shibori silk scarf.

Many teachers use tie-dye as a lab on cotton t-shirts. Come to learn how fiber-reactive dyes can be used on silk! "Traditional" techniques like spirals or stripes as well as "shibori" dyeing will be shown. Participants will take home a ready to wear beautiful lab creation!


Using Polymers to get the Attention of Today's Learners

Wednesday: 9:45 - 11:15 am

Dori Hess, Stark State College/GlenOak High School Proposal 85

Are you looking for fun ways to teach your students about the scientific method? Protein denaturation? Osmosis and tonicity?

Let your students determine which bubble gum has the best elasticity as they apply the scientific method to test their hypothesis. Learn how to use hydrogels to teach student how cells will act in hypotonic and hypertonic solutions. As an added bonus, learn how to use milk to demonstrate protein denaturation at its best!


Introduction to Polarized Light Microscopy

Wednesday: 10:20 - 11:15 am

Thomas Schaefer, Hooke College of Applied Sciences Proposal 88

Using a state of the art polarizing light microscope (PLM) participants will get a firsthand look at how this technique reveals otherwise hidden structures in crystalline materials. This information can then be used to identify the materials and provide information about chemical structure. This technique is used by forensic and analytical scientists in industrial, pharmaceutical, geological, metallurgic and life sciences around the world. After a brief explanation of how PLM works participants will be provided an opportunity to observe common items and experience directly how polarized light can be used to collect data which would otherwise be difficult to see. Finally participants will be provided with all the instructions, materials and tools needed to create a kit that can be used to convert a very basic student microscope into a functional polarized light microscope.


Copper Etching via Two Methods: Ferric Chloride & Electrolysis

Wednesday: 2:40 - 4:45 pm

Eric Bahaveolos-Wolf, John Hersey High School  116 – Bahaveolos

If you're never tried etching copper here is your opportunity! This is a great way to combine art, history and redox in your classroom!

Attendees will etch a small plate of copper (approximately 1mm thick x 2 in wide x 3 inches long) either chemically using ferric chloride as an oxidizing agent or via electrolysis using a 3-volt power supply. I will make both methods available for the workshop but I am limited to 10 3-volt power supplies.


Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

Wednesday: 2:40 - 4:45 pm  Proposal 206

Ken Lyle, Duke University

Learn to make liquid nitrogen ice cream and “Dip-N-Dots”

If you have not made ice cream using liquid nitrogen, come and learn how!








A HUGE thank you goes to Pittcon for sponsoring these workshops! Their donation is why YOU are able to attend these wonderful workshops at no additional cost!


Pittcon® is a registered trademark of The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, a Pennsylvania non-profit organization. Co-sponsored by the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh and the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh, Pittcon is the premier annual conference and exposition on laboratory science.


Proceeds from Pittcon fund science education and outreach at all levels, kindergarten through adult. Pittcon donates more than a million dollars a year to provide financial and administrative support for various science outreach activities including science equipment grants, research grants, scholarships and internships for students, awards to teachers and professors, and grants to public science centers, libraries and museums