Warner Science Slam

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OCDS and SMACS students engage budding scientists at the first ever Warner Science Slam.  

The Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS) and the Organization for Cultural Diversity in Science (OCDS) volunteered at Warner Avenue Elementary school’s first-ever Science Slam on April 18, 2015.

The Science Slam, organized by teachers and parents of the Warner Avenue Foundation (WAVE), also featured presentations by several other UCLA student groups and by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The event featured demonstrations, exhibits and hands-on activities for Warner Avenue students and families. Located in West Los Angeles, the school serves grades K-5 in the Los Angeles Unified School District.


SMACS undergraduate volunteers (left to right): Elizabeth O’Neill, Katherine Sheu, Jigar Gor, Nanetta Pon, Sylvia Chow, Harrison Wu, Maya Nag, Diane La, Matthew Cummins, and Samuel Chiang.  

SMACS’s experiments included “floating candy letters” (M&Ms in water),“elephant’s toothpaste” (breakdown of hydrogen peroxide by potassium iodide), and a demonstration of bismuth telluride thermoelectric devices. Volunteers talked to students about the science of these experiments and the youngsters were given the opportunity to show off their chemistry knowledge and win prizes.

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OCDS graduate students Jesus Moreno, Elias Picazo, & Tejas Shah, demonstrate how to make “elephant toothpaste”. 

The OCDS experiments included making “gak” (polymerization of glue), take-home lava lamps with oil and water, and “elephant’s toothpaste” (breakdown of hydrogen peroxide into water and hydrogen gas). The OCDS members encouraged students to have fun with science and to always be curious! 

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Elizabeth O’Neill gives a demonstration of the thermoelectric effect (left). Samuel Chiang demonstrates the strength of water’s surface tension (center). Matthew Cummins demonstrates how to make “elephant toothpaste”.  All are undergraduate SMACS members.    

The Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS) at UCLA is a student chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, and is open to undergrads and grad students of all majors.

The Organization for Cultural Diversity in Science (OCDS) is a physical and life sciences graduate student led group operating under the advisement of Chemistry and Biochemistry departmental chair and long-standing advisor Dr. Miguel Garcia-Garibay. 

Photos by Warner Avenue science instructor Gina Taylor, UCLA Professor Neil Garg, and SMACS member Nanetta Pon.