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Getting Crafty With The Junior Chemistry Class

By Rilee Lytle ‘25, Animas Quill  

The junior class crafted some excellent projects for yesterday’s on-campus Chemistry exhibition, creating pieces that highlight the STEM process through different art mediums. 

Each chemistry student chose a project that explored the chemistry of art and how it’s made. Their teacher, Madi Neukirch, explained that students got the opportunity to pick an artistic medium and research one or more of the materials that they would be using to create an art piece. They then wrote a paper, created an infographic, and represented their learning with a physical display in the art form itself. 

Madi explained her wishes for the project: “One thing that I care about as a teacher is helping my students to feel like science and STEM are accessible to them. My hope with this project is that bringing in a creative component makes science feel a little bit more in-reach to all students, even if they don't see themselves as being a 'science person.'” 

Last semester, the chemistry students built background knowledge related to matter through different artistic techniques. This included bonds of molecules and the physical and chemical properties of matter. Madi shared that the juniors did labs in which students created cyanotypes and a lab where they designed an experiment that had to do with the process of naturally dyeing textiles.

Junior Gareth Keohane commented, “What I have learned is really applicable to me for the future. I like teaching myself about the stuff we have learned, like creating a chemical reaction. And I mean my project, making bismuth crystals, is really cool and fun and I wouldn’t have been able to make this happen without chemistry and all the learning we did.” 

There was a wide range of projects that showed the learning throughout the semester. From jewelry making, growing crystals, natural tie-dye, epoxy resin, laser cutting, and in between, the juniors showed both their artistic and scientific sides.

Madi shared, “I hope that my students understand that chemistry is everything! Everything can be connected back to chemistry (and physics), even things like art where that connection may not seem as obvious. On the other hand, I hope they learn that the scientific process has an element of creativity to it as well. Designing your own experiment takes vision, just like making a beautiful art piece.” 


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