Chem II students develop CO2 experiment

Michael O'Neil

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When Mr. Danforth, Chemistry II teacher, was struggling getting an experiment to work correctly, he made an interesting decision: he challenged his students to try to figure it out and then he just got out of the way.  What an empowering decision for a teacher to make.  As he stood back and watched, some amazing things happened.  Students had to read and think and plan and try and fail and try again.  Two students in particular, junior Garrett Tomson and senior John Beale, truly embraced the challenge and after many failed attempts, they found a way to make the experiment work.  What did Mr. Danforth do next? He put Garrett and John in front of his Chemistry I students to teach and demonstrate their experiment.  Unfortunately, during their presentation, things did not go as planned, and the experiment failed.  However, did it really fail?  That depends on your definition of failure.  Here is the challenge to you the reader: watch this video. When finished, look beyond the last 30 seconds of it and find all of the successes that happened along the way.