RAPID CITY, S.D. — Although traditionally celebrated on October 23, middle school students were invited to participate in the Mole Day festivities on Monday, October 25 at the South Dakota School of Mines campus.
But what exactly is Mole Day? It’s definitely not a day to celebrate and learn about the furry mammals that dwell underground!
Mole Day is a holiday among chemists and enthusiasts alike that celebrates Avogadro’s Constant, a unit of measure widely acknowledged in chemistry to represent the number of atoms in a substance.
The number is 6.022 x 10 to the 23rd power. A six with 23 units following it or in its completely written out form:
The celebration comes as a way of getting younger students excited about science, like the students from schools in the area that got to enjoy the festivities.
“There sometimes can be an age gap with getting people excited about sciences, especially things as complicated as mols and concepts that are really tough to understand sometimes,” chemistry student John Papiernik explained. “But what we want to do is make that knowledge accessible to all ages, and have that excitement go for generations.”
South Dakota Mines had a full schedule for the visiting students beginning with a chemistry magic show. From there students enjoyed hands-on activities in chemistry and biology with faculty members.
The university chose to focus on middle school students as that is the age where they lose focus on science and think about their future.
“This is an age where we want to catch students who maybe traditionally are falling out of the sciences or math,” Interim Biology Coordinator Dr. Elizabeth Racz explained. “They’re starting to make long-term decisions about their careers and lives and we really want to remind them that there’s this spark of joy. We want to inspire them to consider the sciences.”
After today, officials and university students alike hope that the kids in attendance foster their excitement and interest about science, whether or not they choose to pursue a career in one of its many fields.
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