(COVINGTON, La.) — The entire second semester for Chemistry students revolves around the mole project, for which students compete to build a mole model with a punny twist.
“The animal mole really has no relation to the chemistry mole but scientists like to use the animal as sort of as mascot for the chemistry mole,” said Chemistry teacher Lee Pierre.
The mole is a unit of measurement most commonly used in chemistry to describe the molecular weight of a substance. In Pierre’s Chemistry class, the mole is used the entire second semester. Because the mole is used so often in chemistry, scientists like to stress its importance. There is even a National Mole Day celebrated on October 23 (or 10/23), since the measurement is equal to 6.02 x 10^23 particles.
“We usually celebrate Mole Day in January or February because that is when we get to the concept in our Chemistry classes,” said Pierre.
On the class’ own Mole Day, students create and decorate their own unique stuffed toy animal mole.
“I have seen a number of funny moles, and I am not sure that I could pick (an overall) winner. Some previous examples I can think of are : ‘Ca-mole-flage’, ‘Snow-mole-bile’, ‘Molar’ bear, ‘Mole-hawk’, ‘Moley’ Wonka, Marques ‘Mole-ston’, and Nicki ‘Mole-naj’,” Pierre said.
Each class has three winners of the decorated Mole Contest. The top three moles each receive a Mole Dollar. The Mole Dollar is currency only usable in chemistry class.
“The value the Mole Dollar is 10 points, so students are very competitive about winning the Mole Contest,” Pierre said.
Students have additional opportunities to win Mole Dollars by participating in the Mole-lympics on Mole Day, a series of silly competitions such as the basketball toss, using their stuffed moles.
The numerical mole is used for counting things which are very small, such as atoms or molecules, and in the calculation of results of chemical reactions. Like the numerical value of a dozen is 12, a mole also has a numerical value. The number is also called Avogadro’s Number after the Italian scientist Amedeo Avogadro.
(Photos By Jordan Kliebert)