MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (Nov. 1, 2013) The science behind splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen is complex, but fascinating. A team made up of educators and students at West Virginia University and Wildwood Middle School in Jefferson County, WV has created a means for students and their teachers to do it under one minute using a device, which can be made out of gelatin and other common materials from the supermarket.
The technology is showcased at the annual West Virginia State Teachers Association Conference. The conference, which began Oct. 31, is being hosted at Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa in Morgantown. The Saturday, November 2 workshop is led by the entire team: Sharon Athey, science teacher at Wildwood, Lisa Holland, professor in the Department of Chemistry Jeff Carver , professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction/Literacy Studies, graduate and undergraduate students Tyler Davis, Cassandra Crihfield, Madeline Vandevender, Marriah Ellington, Shuaiyundi “Ivy” Shao; and University High School student Colton Kolanko.
“Our microfluidic chip allows K-12 students to perform a complicated science experiment up close and personal,” Holland said. “Normally this experiment takes up to 30 minutes, and can only be done in a laboratory setting.”
Using the device students see the electrolysis of water in the palm of their hands, in under a minute. The entire experiment only costs $5, which is important for schools that often do not have big budgets.
With this success of integrating their research innovation into the classroom, the team is already working on the next big and affordable experiment to bring to aspiring scientists. The question is asked why this is important.
Holland says, “We are passionate about the significance of our science and research advances, but we are equally excited to inspire the next generation of innovators in the Mountain State.”
All workshop attendees will receive instruction from the team on how to assemble the device. Attendees will also receive documented laboratory protocol that accompanies the laboratory experiment and instructional materials that meet West Virginia content standards and objectives. The first 20 teachers who RSVP for the session will receive microfluidic devices to implement the experiment in their own West Virginia K-12 classroom.
For more information on the device, or to RSVP please contact Lisa Holland at Lisa.Holland@mail.wvu.edu , or 304-293-0174.
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