Molly Williams Box

Molly Williams Box

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Learn about Molly Williams, the FIRST female firefighter in the United States.

Williams, or "Volunteer No. 11" as she was called, was a slave for a volunteer fireman. During one particularly blustery winter, all the firemen came down with the flu in the firehouse where Williams labored. As Molly cared for them, the firehouse's bell rang. Molly realized she had a job to do...

Dianne Ochiltree's story recounts that fateful day and how Molly Williams became the first known female firefighter in the United States.

For ages 4-6

Big Idea: Heat can be an observable property. Materials can be sorted by temperature. Friction can generate heat. We can use our senses, specifically vision and touch, to identify hot or cold objects. Activities include:

  • Color Changing Slime--How can we see heat? You can use this slime on objects around the house to determine what's hot and what's not.

  • Hot Air Balloon--Air takes up space, but how much space it takes up can depend on the air's temperature. In this activity, watch as a balloon inflates and deflates based on the temperature of the air in a bottle!
  • Friction--Did you know that you can generate heat with just your body? In this activity, children will be rubbing their hands and other objects together to create heat.
  • Sticker Fire House--What do you know about firefighters and fire stations? Use the sticker sheet to widen a child's understanding of firefighters, fire stations and fire safety. This is also a great opportunity to hone their fine motor skills through the pulling and placing of stickers!
  • Extra: 1 colorable fire hat

For ages 7-9

Big Idea: Heat affects the physical properties of the three states of matter--solid, liquid and gas. Heat can be released in many ways, one of which is by combining one substance with another. Some combinations release heat wile other combinations absorb heat. Activities include:

  • Hot Air Balloon Activity--Air takes up space, but how much space it takes up can depend on the air's temperature. In this activity, watch as a balloon inflates and deflates based on the temperature of the air in a bottle!
  • Endothermic Reaction--We're making Instant Hot Ice Packs in today's endothermic experiment. First we'll create a chemical reaction, and then we'll see how "ice" comes from said reaction with the right temperature.
  • Exothermic Reaction--Have you heard of Elephant toothpaste? This experiment is full of foaming fun! Kids will be able to physically feel the heat generated from the foam in this chemical reaction.
  • Color Dispersion in Water--Does the temperature of water affect the distribution of substances within it? In this experiment, we'll see how food coloring reacts in water of various temperatures.
  • Extra: Fire Fighter Stickers/Tattoos

For ages 10-12

Big Idea: Fires require 3 things to flourish, heat is transferred in 3 ways, and Newton's 3rd Law of Motion can be explained with a bit of fire. Note: For safety, matches are not provided. Parental supervision is recommended.

  • Candle Seesaw--Newton's Third Law is demonstrated here through the melting of a candle.
  • Convection Candle--By simply warming the air, heat can generate enough energy to make this aluminum turbine move.
  • Self Extinguishing Candle activity--Fires need heat, fuel, and oxygen to survive. What happens when you remove one? In this activity, kids will see how a lack of oxygen can extinguish a flame.
  • Heat Transfer Experiment--Heat is transferred through conduction, convection and radiation. In this experiment, kids will use the power of conduction to melt some Hershey Kisses. Note: the metal spoon and ceramic cup for this experiment are not provided.
  • Extra: 4 Additional activities with instructions (no materials given)