Ana Romano

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The next generation will experience a large shortage in scientists due to the loss of interest of middle school students in STEM fields. In efforts to increase middle school students’ interest in STEM topics, the Instrumental Methods of Chemical Analysis chemistry class (CHEM 312) at Trinity College has partnered with a Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy sixth grade classroom for the past three year to do a water testing experiment. Recently, the sixth grade curriculum discontinued the study of the water cycle and, instead, includes an in-depth section on soil. Through interviews with sixth grade teachers and college professors, consulting research on curriculum studies, performing weak acid soil digestion and soil analysis through inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES), this research redesigned the combined campus activity (the community learning initiative) to involve soil analysis instead of water analysis while engaging both the college and sixth grade students. This project has produced both sixth grade classroom materials and an NPK soil analysis test kit to be used on the day of the combined campus activity as well as a procedure for weak acid soil digestion by ICP-AES analysis to be used after the combined campus activity by the CHEM 312 students.


Community partner: Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy