Part of our Science Creative Literary Symposia. During this day, students from the Grade 7 class extracted compounds from various plant and flower samples, which were then loaded on a silica based chromatography column for characterization.
THE DIAMED FLOWER
The DiaMed flower
Texture of satin,
In a single row.
Varnished, stiff leaves,
The colour of pine needles,
Pointing up walls.
Thin sheet of ice,
Crackled and sizzled like afire
Pestle ran over the helpless plant.
Trampled on, chunks all over the place.
A victim of the evil white smog.
Out of the freezer,
The strong smell of grass wafted out
A murky pond was collected in the tube, with algae clinging to the sides
How did the flower,
With its beautiful leaves,
End up like this?
A smooth, red leaf.
Flat and waxy,
Yet soft and silky.
Intertwining loves mesh together.
Soft crunching breaking
Into thousands of pieces, as the leaf cracks,
Cold chill envelops my fingers,
As the mist pours out,
Flowing like a soft cloud, spilling and vanishing.
Watching the powder trickled into the tube,
Wondering, how it smells, finding the answer.
What will happen?
To this, there may never be an answer.
Who knew this maple could be so small, yet colourful?
Thin, twiggy, needles;
Everywhere they are.
Dry, crunchy, common;
To find, not need go far.
When crushed up sounds like sand,
Swaying in the beach
Crushing liquid nitrogen,
Crumbling with its reach.
Hopeless there, sitting
All alone by itself.
Being broken to pieces,
Like a crazy mudman’s elf.
Being put in a tube,
First smelling so fresh.
Then I think a bit,
It really smelt like mesh.
Pouring solvent into it,
Creating liquid gel,
Creating an orange section,
I watched it as it fell.
I wonder what this was about,
What have we got now?
Does this help anyone?
Why? And. How?
THE PRETTY PINK PLANT
The pretty pink plant
Clean, delicate, curly
Timid, crisp, soft.
Light, airy, breeze
Bitter. Thin ice.
Cold, sweet aroma,
Defeat, under a
Infinite invisible pieces,
The Pretty Pink Plant
Flexible yet firm
Fresh and green
To be exposed to – 123o degrees!
To crush a plant
Fizzle! It is hard as a rock,
But yet fragile as glass.
Crush crush, crush!
Mortar and pestle,
Going round and round.
Collection of powder,
A powder so fine,
Very fresh to an extent
What would come upon this?
Shake, shake, shake!
What shall I do next?
With so much equipment,
I am confused,
There are so many going-ons around me.
What a waste!
Such a fresh smell of ground pine needle,
Does need to be preserved.
THE FLAT GREEN LEAF
The light green leaf;
Lying on the table.
With two other leaves,
They waited together.
Suddenly torn away
From his friends.
The leaf was placed
Into a bowl
Frozen, unable to move,
The leaf was crushed
Releasing a fresh smell.
The cold mixture of
Plants were poured into a tube,
And later, was joined by liquid.
The person holding the tube of
Leaves wondered what would become
Of these leaves?
Would they be grounded,
Or thrown away?
The person thought of this as
He place the tube
Onto the rack.
The flat green leaf
Mixed with others
Was surprised as he
Transformed into a green
THE ARCTIC TULIP
It smelled like sweet sausages.
It looked big and purple.
It rotted at the edges.
Mortar and pestle, brittle and cold
Round and round in circles
The Arctic broken into pieces.
What will it turn out as?
Will the colour change?
Bits and pieces gathering.
What will happen next?
Will the colours mix together?
Purple, green, pink, needle
Arctic white, tulip purple
Added up, arctic tulip,
Soft to touch, smelled like spice
Altogether very nice.
Its smell so sweet upon my nose
Its needles so prickly poking upon my fingers
Its stem giving way for shoots of dark green
It’s what I chose, Rosemary.
But then, I needed to destroy it
I threw away its touch and sight
Dousing it with nitrogen
I brought the pestle to its frozen form
I crushed it, sending it squelching and crackling
Rosemary, turned to dust.
The dust was put to a tube
With acetone dissolving its smell
With solvent turning Rosemary to liquid
The forest scent changed to chemical.
What will happen to my Rosemary?
Will it turn to air, will it be stripped of its beauty?
Rosemary, what will I do?
Science will decide what will happen
Rosemary, is this my goodbye?
Rosemary, your destruction is near complete, why was it so easy?
And, oh what a decision: Purple, green, red, yellow. Leaves, needles, flowers.
Felling the frozen plants crush between mortar and pestle.
We inserted and observed.
Smelling the chemicals, feeling sick. Nail polish remover adds to smell as
The fly does to a dogs excrement,
The solvent slowly separating, showing us the true colours of our plants.
Under UV light, we saw more than ever expected.
We have learned.
It lets us see into the unknown. Shed light on dark
We have only used plants. I now wonder what everything else in this world would look like.
And as a result, we learned.
The flowers have changed.
From beautiful delicate petals,
To liquids that glow.
Underneath the UV light,
Pink turns darker
Green turns orange.
This reminded me of
The cat I saw while studying genetics
It glowed as well under the UV light.
I’ll never see a flower the same way again!
Kaleidoscope of colours
Science and literature come together
Crushing the plants
Dissolved in rubbing alcohol
Neon under the UV light
Water and grease
Changing from one vivid colour into a
Completely different colour
Rubbing alcohol vs distilled, drinkable alcohol in
Extracting DNA from strawberries.
Step into the
A single, violet
I can’t see!
It was skin cancer!
Needled twigs, frozen crushed
Mixed with ethanol.
Separated, chunks from liquid,
Poured into a tube,
Left to sit a while.
Under UV light
Neon orange mixed with red
Where chlorophyll is plentiful.
Like a sunset at the beach,
On a summer trip.
The brilliant colours
Lie the sun, when it actually looks like
A fiery sphere.
The sun, sandwiched between layers,
In column chromatography.
Yellow, too much.
Colours blend as the plant matter drips on tirelessly.
Liquid seeps through silica, finding a way through.
Beauty is not needed, as it is replaced by interest and curiosity.
Yellow mixed with some brown, just enough for hideousness.
Liquid, water on a leaf.
Colours, a rainbow, glowing in the sky.
Liquid, water, collected on a leaf, dripping slowly into a puddle.
Beauty, hard to find where the beast is common.
Yellow, a murky sun, hidden by terrible clouds.
Connections, hold these things together.
As we dropped our liquid into our solvent, drop by drop.
As we looked to other groups, some other solvents were more effective.
We waited and waited.
To our joy, it had gone down though the silica.
But to our dismay, we had only achieved the 1/3 mark.
Seen through UV light, unlike others, our experiment produced nothing special,
Except for a few glowing white circles.
At the end, our experiment produced nothing interesting.
But we succeeded at the experiment
Like all groups.
As we saw it seep through the silica,
A memory came to my mind.
It was in a lab, extracting DNA from strawberries.
These two experiments are similar.
As we saw it progress,
A thought came to mind.
Why not clump our experiment and the strongest solvent into
A huge tube?
Of course, no one is such a careless person.
And should have fun with this exciting experiment.
I wait. Yet still nothing has happened.
Is my solvent too weak? Is there not enough silica?
Am I a failure?
I must leave; I cannot bear witnessing my failure.
But something is clawing at me.
“Come back” it says. I resist.
But hours later, I am not so strong. I return to my lab.
What is this? My experiment is not a failure!
All this time that I have been sulking.
New form has emerged.
What could it be?
Only time will tell.
But now I will have more patience
Success will be at hand.
I’ve found something new!
It is deoxyexodicarbonphotohexasulfurplutonide.
I am rich!
But I am not satisfied.
I shall do more research in column chromatography.
It’s what we did today.
It went –
“Don’t touch it.”
“It’s like a murderous thief, dude.”
“Silica is like water.”
“Hey! Check this out guys!”
“Solvent is like grease.”
“UV stands for ultraviolet.”
“Actually, our green is like orange.”
“This subway. It actually moves!”
“When you sit with a pretty girl for an hour, it feels like a minute.”
“By the way. How do you spell column?”
We put it in a bowl
Added liquid nitrogen
And crushed it
Then we added
And separated chemicals
What are the chemicals
The stuff smelled like a small
Animal has drank a glass of sharpie ink,
Defecated and died. Right below
Chromatographic with solvent and silica
Acetone improved chemical extraction
Causes UV light to have effect
Sand swaying from side to side, down the beach,
When the liquid nitrogen is poured into its new home,
Before the plant is poured into its new death.
Putting on gloves impossible to fit,
As I see the plant putting on a frozen
Segment to call its end.
Scissors and tools of all sort
Used to find the castle’s doors,
Hidden by the shadows of the light,
But will it work or will it not,
Will it stay the same?
Must we start over,
Start all over again?
Test tubes, cylinders, cubes,
Eye droppers, gloves, coppers,
Glasses, wipes, of all types
Many more tools we use for our equipment,
One miniscule speck of grass
How can it contain such a mass
Of beauties, truths, and signs of life,
Or signs of death, though there’s no knife.
When we waltzed in
To a little UBC lab
We had no idea what we were about to do
We knew it had something to do with science and literacy
But nothing really came to mind.
When our teachers explained
We crowded around
A table picking our subjects.
When the nitrogen flowed
Some kids exclaimed “ooh”!
And the first group hurried to line up.
It was a curious thing
Watching the small human masters and their little plant slaves
Lining up to be crushed
Is what happened next
And the goopy mix
Under the UV light
We examined the mixture like it was an animal
Instead of once proud plants.
The experiment reminded me
Of a slaughterhouse
Only it was more “humane.”
Does anyone think of the plants anymore?
I guess not.
Even if they can’t think for themselves
They were alive like you and me
All in the name of science.
The name of the experiment is column chromatography.
An oddly long name for an experiment.