The City Springs Science Outreach Project

Hopkins University is a sponsor of the City Springs Science Outreach Project (CSSOP), a program designed to bridge Johns Hopkins faculty and students with the East Baltimore community through the presentation of monthly science outreach sessions at public schools. Monthly, hour-long science sessions are taught by Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering faculty about basic science principles, such as water tension and electricity, through simple and lively experiments and demonstrations. CSSOP has been partnering with City Springs since 2009, and serves several of our 5th grade classrooms.

The students in Ms. Berlin’s class welcomed a guest from Johns Hopkins who talked to them about science experiments and testing pH (potential hydrogen). The students learned that a pH of 0 to 6 is acidic, a pH of 7 is neutral, and a pH of 8 to 14 is basic. They also learned about the effects of acids and bases on the skin, as well as some of the properties and chemical reactions involved.

In order to conduct a science experiment, there is a scientific method that needs to be followed. The students learned about the different steps. First, they need to make an observation and a prediction. Next, they need to test their hypothesis. Then, they collect their results and finally, they analyze the data and form a conclusion.

Interestingly, the students discovered that most of the food that they eat (like strawberries and oranges) is acidic, meaning it has a low pH. They also learned about the importance of wearing a lab coat, safety glasses, and gloves for safety when participating in a science experiment. To put their knowledge into practice, the students worked in groups to test the pH levels of different liquids such as milk and orange juice.