Special day celebrates chemistry equation at Tupelo High School

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Students arrived at Tupelo High School before sunrise on Friday morning to celebrate chemistry.
They painted whiskers on their faces, decorated their cars and carried lots of food. After all, this was Mole Day.
The annual event celebrates Avogadro’s Number (6.022 x 10^23), a basic measuring unit in chemistry. That number is known as a mole.
The official Mole Day goes from 6:02 a.m. until 6:02 p.m. on Oct. 23. Because that day is a Sunday this year, Tupelo and several other schools celebrated Mole Day during those hours on Friday.
“One of the reasons we do this is that students can get so bogged down in chemistry being serious and difficult,” said Monica Rowe, chemistry teacher at Tupelo High School. “This is a way to lighten up and get them interested in what they are doing.”
Chemistry and some physical science students participated. To prepare for the event, they had to complete several activities, such as telling their family members, friends and classes about Mole Day and its meaning. Many of them hung signs in the school’s hallway.
The idea is that the repetition helps them remember the number and explain its meaning.
“I will probably never forget this number because I have written it so much this week,” said junior Maggie Wheeler, 16.
On Mole Day, students arrive at school at 6:02 a.m. and eat breakfast together, say a Mole pledge and recite their Mole day-themed poems and rap songs.
“I think it is a good idea,” said junior Jeremy Long, 16. “I myself was having trouble with the concept of moles. Going to my classes and having to describe it, it kind of stuck.”
During chemistry classes on Friday, students performed various calculations using moles. It is a concept they will use throughout the school year, Rowe said.
This is the 14th year Tupelo High School has celebrated Mole Day, and the event has become something of a tradition.
“When we were freshmen, we saw all of the older students doing this, and now it is our turn,” said senior Quaneshia Spates, 18.
Junior Shannon Shepherd, 16, joked that she signed up for chemistry class just to be able to participate in Mole Day.
“They start asking me about it on the first day of the year,” Rowe said.
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com