by Winston Chua
A YouTube video inspired by San Marino High School chemistry teacher Cynthia Chubbuck with help from TED-Ed is quickly approaching 100,000 unique views and it’s only been online for about two weeks.
The title of the video is “Under the hood: The chemistry of cars,” and talks about the chemistry lessons vehicle owners and passengers can learn from their cars.
Chemistry student Mark Liang nominated Miss Chubbuck for what TED-ed would later describe is her “particularly outstanding” work in the classroom.
TED-Ed is a platform through which teachers can build lessons around videos that have been given the TED stamp of approval.
“After only a couple of weeks, more than 80,000 viewers know what we, her students and colleges across the country already knew – that there is no better chemistry teacher in the U.S. than Cynthia Chubbuck, and no better department and group of students than hers,” said San Marino Unified School Board Pres. Chris Norgaard.
Most of the video comes from a script Chubbuck wrote for TED-Ed in early May, just weeks after the nonprofit asked her to explore the possibility of a collaboration with them.
Her work was assigned to animators on June 2 and the project was completed by July 13. The video progressed from storyboards into a collaborative work that grew in detail before the final version came out. TED-Ed’s website says they “believe passionately that ideas have the power to change attitudes, lives, and ultimately, the world.” This video is certainly one that is worth sharing.
“I felt honored to be selected, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome,” Chubbuck explained. “The whole project was a blast, deadlines included. It was a unique opportunity to do something different in something I never expected to be involved with.”
Of noteworthy interest to the longtime San Marino High chemistry teacher are some of the online comments she’s observed.
“This is the most bad a– TED-Ed video I’ve ever seen in my life. This seriously put what I learned in chemistry into perspective,” said scottseptember1992. “This is like one of the few TED videos in which I actually learn something new in. I wish I could like this video 1,000 times. AMAZING JOB!”
The actual video talks about gases, exothermic reactions, combustion, heat and protecting the metal components of the car before focusing on the liquids that can best absorb much of the heat produced by a car.
Water is introduced as a possible idea before being quickly eliminated because it expands as it freezes (leaving open the possibility for car damage) and has a relatively low boiling point.
The video then goes on to explain that there are better alternatives out there for cars, those that are a mixture of a solute and a solvent.
Car aficionados and chemistry buffs can probably guess what the most ideal solutions are, but for the rest of the people out there, there’s that said YouTube video that’s waiting to be viewed. It even includes a nice pun at the end that mentions what humans can do chemically to find the answers to some of life’s problems.
Chubbuck said the best part of being a teacher is “working with kids and helping them learn what is considered to be a difficult subject.”
To find the video online, just enter the words “Chubbuck” and “chemistry” on the YouTube search bar and the video link should pop up as the first on the list of several hundred search results. Or just click on the video link above. Enjoy!
Oh, as for whether or not Mark got any bonus points for his nominating effort, Chubbuck said “He didn’t need any bonus points. He’s very scientifically minded as it is.”