Demonstration Shows: High School Students Performing Science Outreach

Document Type

Book Section

Publication Date


Publication Title

Chemistry Student Success: A Field-Tested, Evidence-Based Guide


American Chemical Society

Publisher Location

Washington, D.C.



First page number:


Last page number:



Chemical demonstration shows may capture students’ attention and spark an enduring interest in science while opening the world of chemistry to people of all ages. They could serve as the anchoring phenomenon for a unit or lesson and tie into the Next Generation Science Standards. Demonstration shows for the fourth-grade students in the Reedsburg Area School District have been a part of a second-year chemistry class for more than 20 years. These shows are prepared and performed by high school students, under the direction of their chemistry teacher. The student presenters choose a demonstration, make the necessary solutions, write a procedure (including safety concerns), develop a script (including the science behind the demonstration at a level a fourth-grader can understand), and perfect the demonstration. The shows cover many chemistry topics as well as physical and Earth science. This chapter shares the story of one high school teacher’s experience in leading these shows during her career, her tips for establishing a chemical demonstration show in your classroom, impacts on students over the years, and also what some of the emerging literature says about who is doing demonstration shows and what we know about them. These chemical demonstration shows have had a lasting impact on the students who have viewed them in the audience in elementary school and/or performed in them later in high school.


Educational Methods | Science and Mathematics Education



UNLV article access