Feature-Mole project shows artistic side to students

March 27, 2008

By Brian Tsai

Someone walking into a chemistry classroom would expect to see test tubes, lab coats and supplies of explosive chemicals. A person walking into chemistry teacher Kathy Chang's class on Jan. 7, however, was instead greeted by furry little animals, which could be seen from every corner of her room.

In terms of chemistry, a mole is a unit of measurement often used when dealing with chemical substances. Although the term has no relation to the actual animal except for sharing the same name, Chang decided to create a contest in which students had to make their own animal moles for extra credit.

"I actually got this idea from another teacher, and I decided I liked it so much that I've done it every year since," said Chang.

Students had winter break to work on their moles, which were due on the day back to school. Each student received a paper template to make the moles from. Moles ranged from Su"mole" wrestler to Guaca"mole." One student even created "Mol"demort, a take from the popular novel series Harry Potter. Students who participated in the activitiy said they had a great time.

"It was really fun to make them and see what kind of interesting moles other people brought to class," said junior Alex Lun. "Some of them were really good, but others were just really strange."

Teachers and members of the administration came to judge the moles. The judges chose three of the best moles from each class. The top winner was then chosen to compete against the winners from the other classes. Based on a class vote, a grand prize was given to the owner, who received a $25 gift certificate. This year's grand prize winner was junior Mara Couch, whose "Molting" mole had feathers.

Chang's favorite part of the project is seeing a different side to her students.

"With chemistry, we usually do a lot of academic-related stuff," said Chang. "With the mole project, you get to see a totally new creative side from the students, which is really neat."

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