Funston - HarrisGood day everyone! For this month, Sisters4Science girls at Funston have been enjoying the lessons and fun activities that we’ve done. I would like to highlight one of the great sessions this month, as we had our guest STEM professional visit us. Our STEM professional was the lovely Dr. Michelle Harris. She has done previous sessions with the girls and they absolutely adore her. Dr. Harris is a postdoctoral researcher and has her PhD in Chemistry. She currently works with lasers at her job, which the girls find fascinating! She uses the laser to study solar fuels. For this session, Dr. Harris brought along an activity for the girls that involved everyday household items. The purpose of the activity was to separate caffeine from tea. The first thing that the girls asked was: “There’s caffeine in tea? I thought only coffee had that!” Continuing with this brand new information, the girls were excited to learn how one can separate caffeine right before their eyes. The supplies for the activity were: tea (whichever kind and needs to be cold), nail polish remover, and small vials. Dr. Harris then explained to the girls why the caffeine would be separated using nail polish remover. The main ingredient was that nail polish remover and caffeine had the same components. This means that they attract each other and stay together. Lizbeth, being extremely curious, asked Dr. Harris: “Why does tea taste good and we can’t drink nail polish remover?” To answer the question, Dr. Harris explained that although they have the same component, it does not have everything else the same. There are things in nail polish remover that makes it dangerous to ingest while tea has components that makes it perfectly safe to drink. Each girl took their turn to fill a vial with cold tea and nail polish remover. The best place to look at the process happen right before your eyes was in the sun. The girls were simply amazed at how these common household objects can create a super cool and interesting activity for them. They were definitely looking forward to showing their parents the caffeine trick once they get home!

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