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* Outreach Events Spring Term 2006


25 April Kingswood County Primary School Gloucs.

Kingswood County Primary School Chemistry Day

Bristol ChemLabS were invited to this village primary school to hold a ‘Chemistry Day’.

The visit involved a demonstration assembly for the whole school, followed by a workshop for the 34 pupils from years 5 and 6. This practical workshop used three separate exercises to develop measurement and investigation skills.

More importantly, the pupils also had fun! Postgraduate chemist Laura Croft engaged pupils in the delights of investigating slime formulations; stalwart postgraduate Alex Griffin taught the young chemists safe handling of acids and hydrogen pop testing, while investigating reaction rates. The third exercise involved the iodine clock reaction, which encouraged ‘fair testing’.

5-7 April Physical Science Revision Lectures in Wales

In early April, Bristol ChemLabS joined with the Institute of Physics to present the Wales 2006 Physical Science Revision Lectures. These lectures were to help Y11 students revise for their GCSE exams in the summer. The pairs of demonstration lectures took place at Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni - Blackwood, Caerphilly, Ysgol y Preseli, Crymych, Pembrokeshire, and Rhyl High School Denbighshire.

Dr Zbig Sobiesierski of the Cardiff Centre for lifelong Learning revised aspects of the electromagnetic spectrum whilst our own Tim Harrison revised fuel chemistry, structure and bonding.


28 March Weston School Consortium Visit to Chemistry

Tim Harrison lectureAs part of the annual Sciences Enrichment Programme, organised by The University of Bristol Widening Participation Office, a group of 40 Y10 students from several schools in Weston Super Mare spent the afternoon in the School of Chemistry.

During the afternoon, postgraduate student Zoë Schnepp gave them an insight into the work being undertaken in the School of Chemistry. The students were also given a tour of the department and Tim Harrison entertained and educated them with an interactive lecture on aspects of the chemistry of the atmosphere.

24 March A-Level Chemistry Enrichment Afternoon at Norton Hill School

Bristol ChemLabS were invited to the Midsomer Norton science college to work with Post 16 chemists. PhD student Emma Yates, of the Atmospheric Chemistry Research Group, gave a talk on the greenhouse effect and on the mechanisms of ozone depletion. Dr Sarah Henley and her Y12 and 13 chemistry students then had the chance too participate in some demonstrations of atmospheric chemistry with Tim Harrison.

21 March ’Chemistry Magic Show' at Embleton Primary School

Chemistry Magic Show at Embleton Primary School

ChemLabS Outreach was in action yet again in Southmead.

A full day’s activity saw a chemistry demonstration assembly given to the whole school, followed by workshops for Y6 and Y5 pupils. Some new experiments were trialled along with the making of slime.

Pupils investigated the effect of concentration on the speed of a reaction, made hydrogen gas and ‘popped’ boiling tubes of the combustible gas under the direction of postgraduate Alex Griffin.

Steve Croker’s extension of a simple polymer chemistry practical involving the modelling of the thermoplastic ‘polymorph’ brought out some of the pupils' artistic skills.

20 March ’Chemistry Magic Show' at St. Michael-On-The-Mount

Third Year Undergraduate Chemist Sophie Fossett co-presented a ‘Chemistry Magic Show, to round off her time working at the St. Michael-On-The-Mount. St Michael neighbours the School of Chemistry opposite the Cecil Powell building.

Sophie, who intends to train as a teacher on completion of her degree, has been working at St Michael's as part of her final year undergraduate project work since September 2005. During this time she has helped to explain concepts, planned and co-delivered lessons, and generally made science more fun and approachable for the pupils.

Sophie is one of a small number of chemistry undergraduates across the country who are opting to work in schools as part of their final year projects.

17 - 18 March - Science Alive

Science Alive 06

‘Science Alive’ was again held in Broadmead Galleries Shopping Centre. The event is part of the University's contribution to National Science Week - an annual event arranged by the British Association for the Advancement of Science to increase PUBLIC engagement with the subject.

School of Chemistry postgraduate students Dane Comerford, Becky Sage, Claire Galvani, Dem Jardel, Julie Pearce, Nicky Elliott, Nick Walker and Phyllis Fiadzomor explained some of the chemical physics work we do here at the university. This involved linking basic concepts of structure through some simple demonstrations and experiments with slime to synthetic diamond production. For details click here.

The British association for the Advancement of science organises National Science Week with the intention of having a lot of fun with science and putting across a very positive image of scientists.

17 March GCSE Chemistry Revision at St Katherine’s School

Bristol ChemLabS was invited to St Katherine’s School, a North Somerset specialist science college to present a revision session to year 11 chemistry students. The session involved a number of demonstrations performed by the students, under close supervision, to reinforce their understanding of some chemistry concepts. One of the experiments managed to raise the ceiling tiles of the lab!

15 March Science Week Schools’ Conference

15 March Science Week Visit to Bruton School

Collpasing balloons

Postgraduate students Dane Comerford, Nicky Elliott, Julie Pearce, Ruth Doherty and Joel Loveridge took a ChemLabS road show to Bruton primary school for the second year running.

A series of workshops were held on the theme of ‘The Chemistry of Colour’. In one workshop pupils made flags out of three different materials that once dipped into a dye mixture would come out red, white or blue.

The pupils investigated several different foods made up of varying amounts of protein, sugar and minerals. The pupils tested the foods for particular compounds by burning them and comparing the flames to previously prepared standards (e.g. prawns and copper sulphate)

In the afternoon, the postgraduate students gave a demonstration talk to close the day. The experiments included decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, blue bottles experiments, acid-base reactions, collapsing balloons and smashing flowers with the use of liquid nitrogen. This ended with some exothermic magic writing and a hydrogen balloon explosion performed outside. The children and postgraduates thoroughly enjoyed the day.

8 March Poster Presentations for Regional Science Colleges

As part of Science Week, Bristol ChemLabS organised a poster presentation for students in Key Stage 4 from regional science colleges. The students presented work carried out as part of their GCSE coursework or investigations undertaken in a science club.

The students had the opportunity to talk with postgraduate students Zoë Schnepp and Alex Griffin and to see where they worked. The afternoon also involved a lecture by Zoë on Synthetic Bone Chemistry. The students were also given the chance to participate in a short lecture demo.

The competition part of the afternoon saw the students defend their posters (and in one case, a video diary of their work) to a panel of four judges including Alex and Zoë. The winning team, from Malmesbury School, presented a project on the uptake of carbon dioxide by plants, while the two runners up, both from Stroud High School, presented projects on reaction rates.

All participants in the event were presented with the BA’s Science Communicators Award.


20 February - Chemistry Enrichment Day at Severn Vale School, Gloucester

Severn Vale students Severn Vale students

A set of Y10 students at Severn Vale School enjoyed a day of chemistry activities encompassing workshops on polymer chemistry, Grätzel cell chemistry and a lecture on bonding.

The polymer chemistry workshop, co-tutored by Zoë Schnepp, involved students making slime, nylon, plastic from milk and artificial silk fibres. The Grätzel cell workshop, facilitated by Dr Dimple Patel of

Loughborough University, involved a competition to produce the most efficient cell.
The afternoon saw students from the Crypt School, Gloucester join the group from Severn Vale to see a lecture demonstration given by Tim Harrison. The event was sponsored by Aimhigher through Widening Participation.

8 and 9 February Paxcroft Primary School, Wiltshire

Bristol ChemLabS provided two days of activities for Paxcroft School's Science Week.
Four workshops were held for pupils from years 4, 5 and 6 and staffed by Zoe Roberts, Yvonne O'Connell, DC Cheng and Steve Croker. The pupils were treated to activities involving chemical clock reactions, making slime and the factors that affect how quickly paper helicopters fall. The pupils looked very much the part in their lab coats, safety glasses and gloves.

A full school assembly involving several dramatic demonstrations given by Tim Harrison was enjoyed by all 270 pupils and their staff.

The Head Teacher, Lyn Taylor, reported, 'The parents were in on Friday for our exhibition and it was wonderful to hear them talking about how much their children had enjoyed the week.'

4 February - Perfume Chemistry Workshop for Undergraduates

Undergraduates taking part in the Perfume Workshop

In an unusual outreach activity, a Perfume Chemistry workshop was held for undergraduate students from the School of Chemistry.

Perfumer John Stephen of the Cotswold Perfumery explained the fundamentals of the perfume industry, the chemistry behind perfume composition and how perfumes work. The students composed their own unique perfumes which were then put into professional packaging.

This event follows on from workshops held for local sixth form students and was held at the request of the undergraduates. Thanks go to Fusion representative Jemima Howells who assisted with organising the day. She commented: “Everyone had a fantastic time and thoroughly enjoyed making their perfumes”.

The course was partly subsidised through Bristol ChemLabS and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

3 February - WISE Event at Malmesbury School, Wiltshire

Some of the students taking part in the workshop

A morning workshop on Gratzel cell chemistry was held for 25 young women from Y9 at Malmesbury School as part of the ‘Women Into Science, Engineering and Construction Campaign’ (WISE). The event was jointly held with Loughborough’s Dr Dimple Patel to enthuse students through involvement in some novel science and to meet a practicing female scientist.
The students investigated the voltage output of TiO2 solar cells that make use of dyes found in such ‘hazardous materials’ as cranberry juice, blackcurrants and hibiscus tea!

Grätzel Cell Workshop for Teachers - 20/12/05



30 January - St Michael's Primary School, Winterbourne

Tim Harrison talks to St Michael's children and teachers

Bristol ChemLabS was invited to participate in activities for St Michael's Science Week.
A full school assembly involving reactions of gases presented by Tim Harrison started the morning, and was enjoyed by over 200 pupils and their staff.

A workshop was then held for pupils from Y5 and 6, staffed by Alex Griffin and Steve Croker. The pupils were treated to circus of activities involving making strong structures out of spaghetti and marshmallows that were then tested to destruction, chemical timing and the other favourite of making different formulations of slime.

25 January - Sixth form Chemistry Conference Biochemistry /Medical Chemistry

January 3rd 2006 AS and A Revision Workshops

Two chemistry revison workshops were held at Rednock School in
Gloucestershire in preparation for AS and A-Level chemistry module

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