NDSU Scientist to Visit Ben Franklin Sixth Grade Students


On Thursday, December 13, Travis Hoeg’s sixth grade science students will work alongside North Dakota State University Professor Senay Simsek to complete science experiments.

On the day of the event, Hoeg’s four science classes will watch and participate in two fifteen-minute sessions.

Session 1:  

CAPSULE BURST – Students will mix alginate (a natural polysaccharide extracted from sea weed) and CaCl2 to observe gel formation. Alginate is a safe food grade polysaccharide. Students will encapsulate some food colorants in capsules and then burst the capsules.

Session 2:

DENSITY – Students will guess whether various cans of soda will sink or float when submerged in water. Diet sodas will float, while regular sodas will sink because of the high sugar content in regular soda which increases its density. Diet sodas use artificial sweeteners which are used in much smaller quantities.

SENSORY SCIENCE/HUMAN ANATOMY – Students close their eyes and pinch their nose and eat a lifesaver candy. They try to guess which flavor they got, but because they cannot use their nose (olfactory epithelium), they will only be able to detect a sweet flavor. When they stop pinching their nose, they will be able to detect the flavor: watermelon, cherry, grape, lime, etc. This demonstrates the importance of our sense of smell and explains why we can’t taste our food as well when we have a cold or stuffy nose.