SPICE, Students Participating In Chemical Education, is an organization of trained undergraduate students who perform chemistry demonstration programs with the aim of interesting elementary and middle school students in chemistry and science via cool experiments, hands-on activities, and exploration stations at libraries and youth agencies such as school demo shows, Family Science Nights, science fairs, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, and National Chemistry Week. The group has been performing for nearly 25 years in a safe, supervised, and fun way. In an average year SPICE reaches out to about 3000 people in local Wisconsin communities.
SPICE, a registered student organization of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is staffed entirely by undergraduate students. It has support from ICE and recently from a grant for chemicals from Sigma-Aldrich. Francisca Jofre, and ICE staff member, is the SPICE adviser.
Undergraduate volunteers are ready to pour a luminol solution at a SPICE demonstration program.
Here are just a few examples of demonstrations in the SPICE repertoire:
- Elephant's Toothpaste
- Genie in a Bottle
- H2 and He Balloons
- Liquid Nitrogen and Helium Balloon
- Liquid Nitrogen and Racquet Ball/Banana
- Luminol Advanced
- Metal Salts in a Flame
- Oscillating Reaction
- Ethanol Cannons
- Dry Ice Demonstration
- Whoosh Jug
The ICE staff has assembled nearly 25 years of experience in reaching more than 70,000 into a how-to guide: SPICE: A Guidebook for a Traveling Outreach Program. This book has detailed instructions for performing SPICE demonstrations including "scripts" of demonstrations, advice on gearing an activity to different audiences, notes on safety, a bibliography of demonstration source books, and suggestions for hands-on activity events. It is available for purchase from the ICE Kits and Publications Catalog.