Smith ties up end of the year with tie-dye activity


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  • Chemistry students had the opportunity to bring in their own white t-shirts to dye.

  • Chemistry teacher Suzanne Smith dips a t-shirt in the homemade indigo dye. This is the first year Smith is using indigo dye.

  • Chemistry students waited a certain amount of time before unraveling their patterned t-shirts.

  • Junior Milagros Tirado folds part of her white t-shirt to create the design for her dyed shirt.

  • Senior Julie Hedrick holds up the outcome of junior Nyah Phengsitthy's tie-dye shirt.

  • Junior Mikaela O'Fallon squeezes the excess water from her t-shirt before being dyed. T-shirts should generally be damp to help shape the design of the tie-dye.

  • Senior Isaiah King helps chemistry teacher Suzanne Smith with running the annual tie-dye activity.

  • Before being drenched in dye, students folded and tied their t-shirts to the design they wanted.

  • Third block chemistry honors students observe Smith as she dips the white t-shirts in the indigo dye.

  • After being dipped in the indigo dye, t-shirts dry for a certain amount of time before being opened up.

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Usually done at the end of the school year, chemistry teacher Suzanne Smith works with the current semester chemistry classes in a tie-dye project. With this being the seventh or eighth year, the second semester class this year was able to do this project, rather than the first semester due to no dye being available at the time. Classes in previous years have used store-bought dye, but this year, Smith decided to go down a different route.

“This year since we found a lab where we can make indigo, we thought it’d be cool to first do that and then actually use the indigo dye [to dye shirts],” Smith said.

While the activity is a hands-on time for students to step away from the textbooks and powerpoints, Smith made sure that her students were aware of the science behind the dye.

“There is a lot of chemistry involved with indigo tie-dye, that’s why I like it more. It’s the sizing of the chemical, the calculating of percent yield, we can talk about oxidation reductions. There’s a lot of neat chemistry going on and it ‘ties’ the whole year together,” Smith said.

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