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Coventry students find pumpkin science experiments smashing

11/7/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Joyce Rainey Long

COVENTRY — Coventry High School chemistry students had a blast with pumpkin-exploding experiments Nov. 1.

Students worked in teams of two to design and carve pumpkins before the experiments. The cut out pieces were placed back into the pumpkins. During the experiments, which were done outside while wearing aprons and safety glasses with chemistry teacher Danny Savage nearby, the students added calcium carbide and water to the pumpkins. The mixture produced a flammable gas called acetylene, explained Savage, and the students lit the pumpkins on fire. The cutout pieces flew out of the pumpkins with loud explosions, and the pumpkins appeared to be carved.

Savage and junior Caleb Wallace are shown above, from left, adding chemicals to a pumpkin.

“I didn’t think the experiment would react that way,” said sophomore Sarah Flower, shown at right bottom, who carved a Hello Kitty pumpkin.

Shown below, from left, juniors Madison Labut and Hannah Hayes prepare for an explosion as Hannah lights the pumpkin with a sparker. Both are members of the softball team, and they carved a softball.

Sophomore Andrew Wilborn lights his pumpkin, shown at right top.

Chemistry students usually have labs each week.

“We get to interact, and it’s just not paper all the time,” said junior Zach Lake.

Savage did the pumpkin experiment last year, and the classes will study chemical reactions in the next unit, he added.

“The periodic table [of elements] is awesome. Chemistry is everywhere,” said Savage. “They will remember this experiment clearly.”

— By Joyce Rainey Long

Photos: Joyce Rainey Long

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