School / Community-based Workshops

Due to current coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, we regret that we are not currently able to offer our school/community-based workshops at this time. 

Floating and Sinking

Audience          
Years 1-2, mixed ability
 
Duration:           
30-40 minutes
 

Workshop Description

Students investigate different materials and their relative densities. They consider how changes in shape make a difference to the property of a material.

Concepts covered

  • density
  • properties of materials 

Skills covered

  • careful handling of materials
  • using observations to make predictions

Prior learning required
None

Further study ideas

  • Mystery: Eggs which float in salt water but sink in pure water – can students work out what the trick is?
  • Mystery: Raisins in lemonade – why do they float and then sink again?

Sugar Rainbow

Audience          
Years 3-4, mixed ability
 
Duration:           
45-60 minutes
 

Workshop Description

Students make sugar solutions of different concentrations and colour them using food colouring.  They then use them to make a density column in a test tube, with a challenge to see how many different layers they can create.

Concepts covered

  • density
  • miscibility of liquids (whether they mix or form layers)
  • states of matter – liquids (addressing the common misconception that all liquids are water-based)
  • properties of materials – miscibility is an extension on the concept of solubility

Skills covered

  • careful handling of chemicals
  • planning scientific enquiries to answer questions
  • recording data
  • using test results to make predictions

Prior learning required
Students may have some experience of recording data in a table of results. 

Further study ideas

  • Application: Can you make layers using liquids found in the kitchen (golden syrup, milk, water, vegetable oil).
  • Application: Make lava lamps using vegetable oil, water and food colouring. 
  • Mystery: Egg which floats in salt water but sinks in pure water – can students work out what the trick is?
  • Mystery: Raisins in lemonade – why do they float and then sink again? 
  • Investigation: how much washing up liquid is needed to make oil and water mix?
  • Investigation: How do solids float differently in different liquids?  Does shape matter?

 


 

Chill-out Challenge

Audience
Year 5-6, mixed ability
 
Duration            
60-90 minutes
 

Workshop Description

Students investigate how the mass of sodium bicarbonate added to a citric acid solution affects the drop in temperature.  More advanced students are challenged to find the correct mass of sodium bicarbonate to get a target temperature drop.  

Concepts covered

  • chemical reactions / non-reversible changes
  • household chemicals
  • energy changes - endothermic reactions

Skills covered

  • careful handling of chemicals
  • planning scientific enquiries to answer questions
  • recording and processing data (inc graph drawing)
  • using results to make predictions
  • measuring changes in temperature
  • numeracy - subtraction with numbers to 1 decimal place

Prior learning required
Students should have some experience of recording data in a table of results. 

Further study ideas

  • Extension: Use a temperature probe attached to a computer to show how the temperature changes over time.  
  • Extension: Investigate exothermic reactions in a similar way
  • Extension: Investigate other common substances, such as a vitamin tablet / alka seltzer tablet / some sherbert mixed with water.
 

Chill-out Challenge

Audience
Year 7-9, mixed ability
 
Duration            
60-90 minutes
 

Workshop Description

Students investigate how the mass of sodium bicarbonate added to a citric acid solution affects the drop in temperature.  More advanced students are challenged to find the correct mass of sodium bicarbonate to get a target temperature drop.  

Concepts covered

  • chemical reactions / non-reversible changes
  • household chemicals
  • energy changes - endothermic reactions

Skills covered

  • careful handling of chemicals
  • planning scientific enquiries to answer questions
  • recording and processing data (inc graph drawing)
  • using results to make predictions
  • measuring changes in temperature
  • numeracy - subtraction with numbers to 1 decimal place

Prior learning required

Students should have experience of recording data in a table of results and understand how a graph can be drawn and used to make predictions, though it is expected that some will need support drawing the graph accurately. 

Further study ideas

  • Extension: Use a temperature probe attached to a computer to show how the temperature changes over time.  
  • Extension: Investigate exothermic reactions in a similar way
  • Extension: Investigate other common substances, such as a vitamin tablet / alka seltzer tablet / some sherbert mixed with water.

 

Cough Sweet Calibration

Audience
Year 10-11
 
Duration
90 minutes
 

Workshop Description
Students will use UV/Vis to determine how much dye is needed to give cough sweets their colour.
They will first use serial dilution to make a set of standards and use these to plot a calibration curve.
The calibration curve will then be used to determine the amount of dye in a cough sweet.

Concepts covered

  • UV/Vis
  • Beer's Law
  • Calibration curves
  • Working with low concentrations

Practical Skills covered

  • Use of UV/Vis machine
  • Serial dilution
  • Use of volumetric flasks and pipettes
  • Plotting graphs

Prior learning required
Students should be able to draw a graph and represent small numbers in standard form.

Cough Sweet Calibration

Audience
Year 12-13
 
Duration
90 minutes
 

Workshop Description
Students will use UV/Vis to determine how much dye is needed to give cough sweets their colour.
They will first use serial dilution to make a set of standards and use these to plot a calibration curve.
The calibration curve will then be used to determine the amount of dye in a cough sweet.

Concepts covered

  • UV/Vis
  • Beer's Law
  • Calibration curves
  • Working with low concentrations

Practical Skills covered

  • Use of UV/Vis machine
  • Serial dilution
  • Use of volumetric flasks and pipettes
  • Plotting graphs

Prior learning required
Students should be able to draw a graph and represent small numbers in standard form.

 


 

Spectroscopy in a Suitcase

Audience
Year 12-13
 
Duration
90-120 minutes
 

Workshop Description
Students will use IR and MS data (and NMR, where applicable) to determine the identify of unknown substances. 

Concepts covered

  • Infra-red spectroscopy
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Nuclear Magentic Resonance spectroscopy (optional)

Practical Skills covered

  • Use of IR instrument

Prior learning required
Students should be familiar with IR and MS, and, if requested, NMR.