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The Salters' Chemistry Festival


Pupils regularly tell us that they enjoy learning when lessons are related to real-life scenarios, writes Paul Taylor, Trent College Academic Deputy. From a teacher’s perspective, helping pupils to see connections between what they already know and the subject matter can speed up the learning process. 

In the latest in a series of articles by Trent pupils, Year 8 pupil Georgina Elder tells us about her day in the Nottingham University Chemistry laboratories.

On the 21st of May, four Year 8 pupils, Amy Greening, Georgina Elder, Cameron Knight and Tiam Baharvand, travelled to Nottingham University to attend the Salters’ Chemistry Festival. The festival was a fun event, attended by local schools, to provide the opportunity for students to take part in practical chemistry activities.

Then main focus of the morning was the Salters’ Challenge. This was a series of practical experiments which we carried out in pairs. The challenge involved using various techniques, including chromatography, to identify the perpetrator of a make-believe crime of murder.

In the afternoon followed the University Challenge. This consisted of an experiment in which we had to make 20cm3 of water turn to a temperature of 10.5 degrees Celsius after exactly one minute. As a team, we had to figure out how much of each substance was required to make this happen, without the assistance of any teachers.

The day ended with a fun lecture called ‘Thunder and Lightning.’ Many demonstrations were carried out providing an array of loud pops and bangs. We all had a very enjoyable and interesting day, and would like to thank our Chemistry teachers and Nottingham University for making this possible.

Chemistry teacher, Laurian Pepper, who accompanied the pupils commented that “The day gave the pupils a unique opportunity to carry out investigative Chemistry in the undergraduate labs at Nottingham University. They gained an insight into how Chemistry is taught at graduate level as well as getting the opportunity to watch a lecture packed full of exciting and dangerous Chemistry experiments.”

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