In addition to Materials Growth and Design Summer Schools for graduate students postdocs, and young faculty, the McQueen Laboratory participates in a number of community outreach activities. One area of current focus is science education at Baltimore City Schools. From 2010-2013, Prof. McQueen and the Johns Hopkins Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society have been working with the Baltimore Talent Development High School (BTDHS) to develop a series of chemistry laboratory activities. This series of laboratory experiments are designed to form an essential component of the chemistry curriculum supplemented with demonstrations to expose students to the wonders of chemistry.

In 2014/2015, the McQueen Laboratory (organized by David Wallace) has joined the NSF-JHU program SABES (STEM Achievement in Balitmore Elementary Schools) to promote discovery driven exploration and introduce the engineering design process. We have continued to work with SABES in 2015/2016 and will do so again in 2016/2017 (both organized by Zachary Kelly). We also provide a yearly materials extravaganza for the Meyeroff Bridge Program. Select images from our outreach activities are shown below.

LED Color Change


As part of the Meyerhoff Bridge Program, we demonstrated the change in color of an LED on cooling.

SABES: Earthquake Shake Tables

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An earthquake simulator, built using foam and rollers.
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Shake table in action, testing the effects of a moderate earthquake on the structure.

SABES Training Fall 2014

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The scream of a light bulb as too much power is applied and it flashes out of existence.

Thermal Lance Fall 2013

Elephant Toothpaste

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What a little hydrogen peroxide, soap, and a catalyst can do...

Thermal Lance: The Power of Oxygen

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The actors...
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...lighting the lance...
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...gently applied to a bike...
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...with students watching...
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...through one bar, onto the next...
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...like a hot knife through butter...
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...further cutting is easy...

SuperNOVA! for Elementary School Kids

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Color-changing carnations, explosions of color in milk, and lava lamps!
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Balloons in a bottle: I wonder why it does that?!?!

Polymerization: Nylon Synthesis

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Pulling nylon...
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...with the vice principal watching...
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...who can make the longest thread?

Redox Chemistry: Silver, Mirrors, and Photography

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Heat makes the reduction of Ag+ with glucose go faster...
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... making beautiful mirrors, like these...
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... and this one.

Non-Newtonian fluids and Chemical Reactions

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“All alkali metals react with water to form alkaline solutions.”
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Mix cornstarch and water, mix and stir...
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and a non-newtonian fluid results...
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...is it solid or liquid? Or both?

Ice Cream

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Mix cream, sugar, and milk...
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...cool ice water to -15 C with salt and cool bag...
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...and presto, ice cream!
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Students enjoying the result of their experiment with colligative properties.

Forensics, Chemiluminescence, and Blood Stains

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Students receiving help making luminol solutions.
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Ms. Tyree and Students working on chemiluminescence.
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Chemiluminescence!

Saturated Solutions and Exothermic Reactions

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Students in Ms. Tyree's chemistry course learn about super saturated solutions and exothermic reactions.
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Prof. McQueen and BTDHS students running an experiment.
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John leading BTDHS students by example.