Welcome to the Chemistry Outreach website!  This site is intended to serve as a locus for learning.


Even the simplest and shortest of demonstrations warrants considerable discussion as to what is happening at its many different levels--many understandings may emerge from any given phenomenon.  The purpose of this site is to provide a virtual space for students and their teachers to meet, discover, and discuss chemical phenomena through chemical demonstrations.  We hope that you will learn to connect visual, chemical phenomena with the principles at work behind the scenes as you exercise your curiosity and articulate questions among yourselves and the students who have produced these materials. 


This Chemistry Outreach course was first taught at the SDSM&T the Fall Semester of 1998. It is now being represented online for the first time this Spring Semester 2000 and its success will rely upon collaboration among all audience participants, including the Chemistry Outreach students here at SDSM&T and the remote participant audiences throughout the State of South Dakota.


This web-based course was designed with several features in mind. First, it was meant to overcome time and scheduling limitations of the Chem 292 students. It was apparent that the demand for their chemical demonstrations in the various grades of K-12 far exceeded the possibility of meeting that demand. Second, many fascinating chemical demonstrations could not be presented owing to limited safety facilities. Third, it became apparent that although demonstrations are excellent teaching tools they must be coordinated with significant discussion of the principles they exemplify for their maximum utility as a learning experience. Finally, in order for demonstrations to serve as a chemistry teaching tool, there needed to be interaction among student audience members and/or their teachers with the demonstrators themselves.


"It's wanting to know that makes us matter. Otherwise we're going out the same way we came in."                                                                             --Tom Stoppard, 'Arcadia'


The web was decided on as a medium to bring all these features together—asynchronicity, safety, accessibility, and collaboration. Each demonstration has four features: (1) a streaming video of the demonstration, (2) a PowerPoint discussion of the physical and chemical principles underlying the demonstration, (3) an examination over the demonstration, and (4) a threaded discussion list in which to pose observations, questions, and any other comments that participants and their teachers would like to make and have addressed by the Chemistry Outreach students, perhaps in the form of new demonstrations!

"Science is rooted in conversations"    --Werner Heisenberg

We hope that you will actively and frequently participate to make this a beneficial learning experience for everyone. Although the course is designed for upper level students, the demonstration videos themselves may be of interest to all ages. Teachers who are interested in obtaining in-service credit for leading their students through the demonstrations will be able to register in Fall 2000 for Special Topics in Chemistry, Chem 590.

Suggested Use

Please work through each demonstration systematically, and work to understand and learn the key concepts in the PowerPoint demonstrations.  Together, these demonstrations provide an understanding of  fundamental chemistry concepts and should be studied in addition to other textual resources (the concepts may easily be found in any text using the index).  


This site is organized not by the demonstrations themselves, but by the key concepts they exemplify.  Every demonstration has a PowerPoint presentation which identifies three or so key concepts "embedded" within the demonstration.  Two different demonstrations, therefore, may exemplify the same key concepts, and viewing both reinforces an understanding of that concept.

Thus, although there are only some 50 demonstrations, there are some 85 overlapping key concepts which emerge from the sum total of all these demonstrations.  These 85 key concepts have been classified by categories as the following pages will indicate.

The best way to approach this site in a learning context is not to merely view the demonstrations alphabetically (although such a masterlist of demonstrations is provided---see the "MasterList By Demonstrations" page), but to approach the material systematically through the concepts, one Roman Numeral at a time (I, II, or III).


This site is best viewed using Microsoft Internet Explorer as your browser.


In addition you will need to download Windows Media Player to view the demonstrations.       


All the student demonstrations you will see have been performed with supervision, safety equipment and ventilation. All chemical experiments should be performed only by knowledgeable individuals under the most controlled of conditions. 

We hope you enjoy the DEMONSTRATIONS!   



                                                            David A. Boyles




Acknowledgements      This creation of this site was made possible by the State of South Dakota,  Governor Janklow's Faculty Awards for Teaching with Technology, 1999.



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