Middle school teacher creates chemical reaction in class with exploding pumpkins

Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 12:22 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. – This school year has been tough, for teachers, students and for parents.

But one middle school teacher says everyone has risen to the challenge.

So, he created an experiment to thank them for their flexibility and hard work. He hopes it’s an experiment they’ll never forget.

There’s no question Wade Curren likes science.

“Science is cool!” he said.

He teaches eighth grade science at Wachter Middle School. But his lessons go beyond tests and discussions. And every few years, he does an experiment that literally blows up.

“You’re going to create a chemical reaction,” he told his students.

The chemical reaction is calcium carbide and water.

“The reaction produces calcium hydroxide,” he explained. “It’s the gas that I’m igniting. You have to be careful not to wait too long so you don’t build up too much gas.”

It’s an experiment that makes Mr. Curren’s science loving-heart beat a little faster.

“There is a sense of coolness and a sense of, ‘What if it goes wrong?’”

It’s a reaction, that even though they’re expecting it, still catches the students by surprise.

“I didn’t think it was going to be that loud,” said eighth-grader Madi Fitterer

“I didn’t know it was going to be that big!” adds eighth-grader Merle Hardy.

For their teacher, it’s a chance to reward these kids for their hard work.

“This year it’s been a challenge,” said Curren. “The hybrid schedule has not been easy. These kids have stepped up to the challenge.”

He also hopes this might just spark their interest in science.

“I want to get them excited especially now when they’re starting to make decisions about future. I want them to think about science. This leaves an impression on them; kids don’t forget it,” he said.

Mr. Curren doesn’t do this experiment every year, but he said it seemed especially appropriate to do in 2020.

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