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National Science and Engineering Week Workshops

9 May 2013

As part of National Science and Engineering week (15th – 24th March 2013), a team of volunteers from the School of Chemistry recently ran a series of chemistry workshops in secondary schools across South Wales. The workshop based on ‘colour as an indicator’ has been designed for Year 9 students with the aim of providing fun, hands-on chemistry to inspire the next generation of chemists.

The workshop begins with a demonstration using Universal Indicator and dry ice to explain the concept of pH. Students then have the chance to investigate rates of reaction themselves in the “Iodine Clock” experiment, often they’re surprised to see how quickly the solution changes from colourless to blue! Finally, students are challenged to prepare a solution that changes colour at an exact time, culminating in a Mexican wave of colour changes. In the final (and possibly messiest) part of the workshop an unwitting volunteer is selected to make “Elephants Toothpaste”; large amounts of steaming foam that looks like, in one student’s words, a volcano!

Over 150 students from St Joseph’s RC School, Newport; Rumney Comprehensive and Ysgol Llangynwyd, Bridgend have taken part in the workshop to date, funded by a Cardiff University Community Engagement Team Small Grant. The School of Chemistry public engagement team consisted of Dr Emma Carter, Jamie Hurcom, Katherine Hunter, Charlie Davies, Emily Langdon-Jones, Elena Owen and Ian Rose.

Response to the workshop from both students and teachers has been tremendously positive with one student quoting ‘I thought I didn’t like chemistry but now I do!’       

The School of Chemistry would like to thank all involved for making the workshops such an enjoyable success.

National Science and Engineering Week Workshops


National Science and Engineering Week Workshops