BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR)– Virginia Tech chemistry students have been creating online video instructions for at-home, kid-friendly science projects in support of a Christiansburg non-profit.
Fourteen students in Associate Professor Amanda Morris’ General Chemistry course were assigned the task to film themselves performing an age-appropriate science project using common household items.
These videos were used to support Wonder Universe, a non-profit children’s museum in Christiansburg.
Morris, a member of the board of directors for the museum, created the “Kitchen Chemistry” idea after the university transitioned to online operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She explained that by putting her students in the teacher role, they were able to engage with the course content in a nontraditional way.
“It challenged me to know the material better and also to be able to explain it and help other people understand it,” said Ben Newhouse, a chemical engineering student in Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering. “I was also lucky I managed to pick up my lab stuff before spring break, so I was able to emphasize safety.”
In addition to keeping course content relevant, Morris saw this as an opportunity for her students to serve.
“During the extended spring break [for Virginia Tech], all I could think about was this idea of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) and how to serve the community and then how my students could do this remotely because they’re not here in Blacksburg,” Morris said.
The museum shares one of the 15 total videos each week, keeping its audience connected with the non-profit until they can safely return to the New River Valley Mall location.
Linking college coursework and giving to the community amidst the obstacles posed the pandemic has challenged Morris’ students to better learn the material they are “teaching,” tap into their creativity, and embody Virginia Tech’s emphasis on service
“It kind of goes to show that out of bad things, really great things can result,” Morris said.
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