* Outreach News Archive * University of Bristol Press Releases

Outreach News Spring 2011


March

Bristol ChemLabS Outreach Cosponsors the Big Bang National Chemistry Prize for School Chemists - 15/03/11

AC Chemistry Sophie Franklin Alex Searle-Barnes and John Luckett E101.jpgThe Big Bang Fair, the UK's biggest single celebration of science and engineering for young people was held this year at the International Convention Centre in the ExCel centre, London. The fair, attended by approximately 25,000 visitors from 10th-12th March consisted of exhibitions from organizations across the private, public and voluntary sectors, reaching out to schools and students throughout the country. The Big Bang Fair is also home to the finals of the prestigious National Science & Engineering Competition (NSEC), with judging taking place on the first day of the fair. Along with the NSEC prizes, there are various disciplinary prizes, with this year's Chemistry stream being jointly sponsored by the AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust (Juniors) and Bristol ChemLabS (Seniors).

The competition this year was tough; after all coming first in their regional competitions, 15 projects were short-listed for the junior prize (aged 11-14) and 10 for the senior prize (aged 15-18). Sophie Franklin, the AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust sponsored postgraduate, judged the junior competitors while Declan Fleming, School Teacher Fellow at Bath University and a Bristol ChemLabS CHeMneT member, judged the seniors. After being immensely impressed by all the projects involved, Sophie awarded the junior category prize to Alex Searle-Barnes and John Luckett from Malmesbury School, Wilts for their outstanding project on the future of biofuels. Along with an in depth knowledge of the chemistry and key points behind their project, Alex and John showed an enthusiasm and passion for their research, above and beyond what was expected and thoroughly deserved to be crowned winners. Declan Fleming awarded the senior prize to Saranja Sivachelvam of Bancroft's School, Bucks, for her outstanding research on the role of cocrystals in pharmaceutical drug development.

Prizes were awarded at the Annual Awards Ceremony on the second day of the fair, in front of an audience of 1000 parents, competitors, teachers and sponsors. Both Chemistry prizes were awarded by Sophie Franklin, with the help of the ceremony's presenters; Kate Bellingham, president of Young Engineers and Professor Brian Cox.

Bristol ChemLabS Outreach Goes Multilingual - 1/3/11

Bristol ChemLabS articles on outreach related activities have now been translated into 13 European languages. The articles ranging from primary outreach work to climate chemistry and spectroscopy have been translated into Bulgarian, Catalan, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Spanish, Slovenian and Valencian. Links from the outreach publication pages will lead to the individual articles.

February

Pupils Help Chemists Create Bristol's Biggest Bubbles - 15/2/11

A team of undergraduates from Bristol's School of Chemistry have developed some chemistry to demonstrate that science can be fun as well as important. Pupils from Elmlea Junior School in Westbury-on-Trym got a treat this week thanks to a special event about the science of bubbles.

The interactive demonstration developed and delivered by a team of three final-year chemistry students, working with Professor Julian Eastoe, explored what a bubble is, how bubbles are created and how their colours and shapes are formed. The pupils then had the chance to make their own bubbles, some of which were big enough to climb into!

Jenny Hitchen, one of the team members, said: "We are trying to promote enjoyment and interest in science in local primary schools by carrying out interactive experiments about bubbles. We also plan to take the project to the Bristol Royal Children's Hospital and St Christopher's, a school for children with severe learning disabilities, to help increase the university's engagement with the local community."

January

Ofsted Report Highlights Importance of Outreach Activities - 21/1/11

In the recent Ofsted report 'Successful science: An evaluation of science education in England 2007 - 2010' (January 2011), significant support for the type of outreach activity provided by Bristol ChemLabS in improving school science was indicated.

'In the schools which showed clear improvement in science subjects, key factors in promoting students' engagement, learning and progress were more practical science lessons and the development of the skills of scientific enquiry'.

Amongst the key improvements identified were: 'more visits, visitors and links with outside organisations' and 'more opportunities for pupils to experience science outside lessons'.

The full report may be read here

Bristol ChemLabS to work with Leweston School in a Royal Society Partnership Grant Project - 12/01/11

Dudley Shallcross will work with senior chemistry, physics and mathematics students at Leweston School to make use of part of the many climate data sets widely available to the public but seldom used in research. The project entitled 'Every Breath You Take: Mining Atmospheric Chemistry Data' will also involve Bristol ChemLabS working with 7 primary schools in the Leweston School area. Representatives of the project will also present their findings at a schools' conference on climate change in the autumn.

Phase 1 of the AZSTT Bristol ChemLabS Primary School Project is Complete - 4/01/11

The AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust funded project has seen all nine local primary schools visited during the past term. 1920 pupils from 8 of the 9 partner schools have now seen the demonstration assembly ‘Gases in the Air’or its near relative 'Fragrance Chemistry'. 589 Year 5 or 6 pupils have also experienced a total of 20 workshop sessions assisted by 14 different postgraduates or Schools Project (UAS) undergraduate chemists.

The 9 schools participating in the N3 cluster project are: St Johns Primary, Bishop Road, Hotwells, Sts Peter and Paul, Elmlea Juniors, St Bonaventures, Stoke Bishop, Westbury Park and St Georges.

 

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