Chemistry graduate students bring science to kindergarten

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Professor Neil Garg and members of his lab visited a local elementary school to teach children about forces using helium-filled balloons.

At the outreach event at the Warner Avenue Elementary School on Monday, December 4th, the group demonstrated how helium-filled balloons can lift objects off the ground to counter gravity. The kindergartners at the event received souvenirs including a copy of the organic chemistry coloring book which Garg and his two school-aged daughters wrote, custom-designed science stickers, a glow stick, and, of course, balloons. Garg’s 5-year-old daughter Kaylie was on hand to help with the demonstrations.  

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Professor Neil Garg (left) and his lab members,  Jason Chari, Rachel Knapp, Francesca Ippoliti, Sarah Anthony, Timothy Boit, and Melissa Ramirez.

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Graduate student Jason Chari discusses the experiments with students. Kaylie Garg (right) tells the students about the organic chemistry coloring book, after helping to levitate the class pet, Matilda the moose, using balloons.

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Rachel Knapp and Francesca Ippoliti teach students how the chemicals in balloons can lead to the balloons either floating or falling due to different forces. A group photo of all the Garg lab members at the event while floating a Minion. 

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Timothy Boit and Sarah Anthony give a demonstration. Melissa Ramirez helps children lift Elmo into the air.

Warner Avenue Elementary school, located in West Los Angeles, which serves grades K-5 in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

To learn more about the Garg group’s research, visit their website.

Photos by Lindsey Garg.