On October 23, 2014 chemistry students at high schools in Tucson AZ, Indianola IA, Highland IL, Burlington MA, Hudsonville MI, St. Louis MO, Las Cruces NM, Chesterland OH, Medina OH, Newberg OR, Exton PA, Harrison City PA, Montrose PA, and the Beaconhouse Margalla Boys school in Islamabad Pakistan competed in the “Mole Olympics” (Molympics). Why? To learn about Avogadro’s number, 6.02 x 1023 or one mole, and its importance in chemistry. The mole is a counting unit in chemistry, and represents the number of atoms in 12.0115 grams of carbon. Mole Day is celebrated from 6:02 am to 6:02 pm on 10/23 each year.
Students honed their skills at estimation, measurement, dimensional analysis and problem solving by competing in the Tally Mark Challenge, the Sponge Squeeze, the Mole of Metals, the Stopper Tower and the Avogadro Fitness Challenge events. At stake were bragging rights and a trophy that will travel to the winning school each year.
This year’s top school is Burlington High School in Burlington, MA led by chemistry teacher Ms. Wendy Czerwinski. Two schools tied for second place. Highland High School in Medina, OH led by chemistry teacher Mr. Chris Luker and Tanque Verde High School in Tucson, AZ led by chemistry teacher Ms. Grazyna Zreda. In third place was Mayfield High School in Las Cruces, NM led by chemistry teacher Ms. Ann Gardner. Fourth place went to West Geauga High School in Chesterland, OH led by chemistry teacher Ms. Kristin Gregory. Hudsonville High School in Hudsonville, MI led by chemistry teacher Mr. Doug Ragan tied for fifth place with CS Lewis Academy of Newberg, OR led by chemistry teacher Ms. Pam Chambers.
The Molympics competition, now in its second year, is the result of a cross-country collaboration between five high school chemistry teachers who met and planned the event via Twitter. Teachers Wendy Czerwinski of Burlington MA, Ann Gardner of Las Cruces NM, Kristin Gregory of Chesterland OH, LuAnn Lee of Newberg OR, and Doug Ragan of Hudsonville MI also used Google apps for education to organize and run the event and to spread the word to participants worldwide. Based on the success of year two, next year’s Molympics should be bigger and better than ever.
Molympics Planning Team at the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education 2014
Kristin Gregory, Doug Ragan, Wendy Czerwinski Not pictured: Ann Gardner, LuAnn Lee
How many years would it take to make a mole of tally marks?
The Tower Event - How tall would a mole of stoppers be?
Working in the Library
Avogadro’s Fitness Challenge- 6 Sit-Ups, 02 Side Steps, 10 Push-Ups, 23 Jumping Jacks