Mike Senra, associate professor and chair of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and his Reaction Kinetics and Reactor Design class joined Jessica Jones’ fourth-grade class at Paxinosa Elementary as part of Landis Center for Community Engagement’s Connected Classrooms initiative.

Concepts covered:

  • Chemistry
  • Heat transfer
  • How fluids move
  • How fast reactors go
  • Mixing two things together: 1 + 2 = 3

Feedback from Lafayette students:

“The experience at Paxinosa was fantastic. The students were exceptionally engaged and responsive to all the presentations. Their response to seeing our chemical reaction demo was incredible, and there was so much energy in the room from all of them. From this experience, I learned how to communicate a topic as complicated as ‘What is chemical engineering?’ to a fourth grade audience in a way that is simplified but still respectful to their knowledge. The kids caught on quickly, and provided some great ideas as to what chemical engineering is. One thing I thought was important for the children to understand was that after our reaction, when asked about what had occurred, many of them said it was ‘magic.’ We had to make sure they knew what we were doing was all math and science, something they have already started to learn!”—Frank Ruggiero ’22

“This was a great experience. I taught science at a museum for four years to kids 4-14 so I really missed that part of my life. This was a really great opportunity to share what I do with these future engineers and scientists. I think they were very receptive to what we were trying to teach them about. Science and engineering are really the roots of society and innovation, so bringing these topics into the classroom at their young age is so important. Their excited reactions to the demonstrations and activities we did with them really shows that engineering and science can be exciting and not boring or nerdy. Seeing them write down ‘magic,’ ‘cool,’ and ‘exciting’ on their worksheets with the other things they learned really made me feel confident that they enjoyed learning about what we do.”—Cecilia Cecconi ’22

Learn about other Connected Classrooms.

Categorized in: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Community, Connected Communities, Faculty and Staff, Innovative Teaching and Learning, Landis Center, Students