05 Demonstration Show

This event is limited to the first 18 entries

2019 Topic: Combustion


Our world runs on combustion. Combustion reactions are exothermic reactions involving a fuel and an oxidant reacting. There are countless uses for combustion reactions: they can make treats, entertain us, power our bodies, fuel our cars, and so many more. Additionally, there are complete and incomplete combustion reactions, both producing large amounts of energy at the cost of producing potentially harmful byproducts. It’s important to understand how significant a role combustion plays in our lives.


Perform a live 3-minute demonstration for a general high school audience that safely demonstrates the concepts of a combustion reaction of your choice. The presentation may include a single, dramatic demonstration or a pair of related demonstrations. Emphasis must be on the understanding of the chemistry involved in the reaction and how it relates to daily life. The demonstration should also include the chemical reaction(s) and a model or picture of the combustion on the atomic level including correct stoichiometry. (No Kits Allowed)


  • The event must be completed by a team of 2-3 students.
  • The demonstration will be carried out in a lecture hall that seats up to 150 students.
  • Combustion reaction must be pre-approved; please submit a first choice combustion reaction and procedure and a back-up combustion reaction and procedure (see section below).  *No gasoline/oil reactions permitted*
  • Each team will be allowed exactly 3-minutes to complete the presentation. Points will be deducted for going overtime.
  • Be sure to fully understand the basic chemical principles that are involved with the demonstration to prepare for challenging questions from the judges on Event Day.
  • Prepare a written report that describes the demonstration procedure. See Written Report Guidelines below.
  • The demonstration area includes a demonstration table equipped with sink and water, electricity, safety shield, and a fire extinguisher.
  • A projection device will be provided if requested. It is the responsibility of your team to bring appropriate cables to attach the projector to your computer.
  • A fume hood is available.  
  • All necessary materials must be brought with you to NJIT. No equipment or chemicals will be provided at the site.  All materials must be cleaned up properly by the team after the demonstration.
  • Students must observe the ACS Guidelines for Safe Demonstrations.


It is recommended that students submit two potential reactions and corresponding procedures to Dr. Miriam Gulotta for pre-approval before starting significant work on their project, but no later than March 30, 2019 (revised). Procedures must include chemical lists, methods, materials, and approximate quantities. Teams which do not meet this deadline for pre-approval submission may be disqualified.


  • Demonstrators and coaches must observe the ACS Guidelines for Safe Demonstrations.  It is important that competitors be properly supervised during the development and practice sessions that lead up to Event Day.  Any demonstration deemed unsafe by the judges based on the written paper write-up will not be allowed.
  • The main objective of the demonstration should be to correctly teach an audience the chemical principles involved.
  • The demonstration should have a clear goal and be creative in presentation.
  • The demonstration is limited to 3:00 minutes. Points will be deducted for going overtime.


The written report (including diagrams, charts, etc.) may not exceed four pages - 12 pt., single-spaced,; do not include a cover page.

Written Report Includes:
  1. List of educational objectives that describe the goals of the presentation.
  2. Include relevance to real-world applications.
  3. Complete instructions and procedures for the safe method of doing the demonstration.
  4. List of chemicals, supplies and other materials.  
  5. Pertinent diagrams for set-ups.
  6. Chemical reactions.
  7. Proper disposal of products.
  8. List of relevant references.
  • Clearly identify the school, Team A or Team B, if applicable, coach(es), and names of students on top of the first page.
  • All sources of information must be identified clearly, both written sources and a list of people who provided assistance.
  • The report must be submitted to Turnitin following the instructions under Research Guidelines.  No paper copies should be submitted. 
  • Bring a paper copy of your report on the day of the event.


  • Safety, 10%
  • Learning objective/paper, 10%
  • Effectiveness of the demonstration in addressing the learning objective, 20%
  • Knowledge of subject,  30%
  • Presentation & style,  30%


On Event Day you will complete your demonstration presentation in a lecture hall.  Competitors should practice and prepare for the following:

  • The demonstration is limited to 3 minutes. Points will be deducted for going overtime.
  • A 3-minute question and answer period moderated by the head judge during which your understanding of the topic and chemical principles involved in the demonstration will be tested and verified.


  • A projection device will be provided at request.  Your team needs to bring appropriate cables to attach the projector to your computer.
  • No gas jets are available for use.  Typically teams bring in small (camp-stove sized) propane sources of fuel if a fuel source is necessary.
  • A fume hood is available.