1 November 2012
Bristol ChemLabS (Chemical Laboratory Sciences) has been inspiring the next generation of chemists with a series of hour-long chemistry demonstration assemblies in schools across the country.
Since the start of the new school year, the ChemLabS outreach team has engaged with around 60 schools in 12 counties from Cornwall to Northumberland. More than 4,000 primary school pupils, some as young as reception class, have been treated to assemblies on ‘Gases in the Air’, while more than 2,000 secondary school pupils have seen a variety of lecture demonstrations, including ‘A Pollutant’s Tale’, ‘Fragrance Chemistry’ and ‘Chemistry for the Terrified’.
Most of the demonstrations were given by Bristol ChemLabS Director of Outreach, Tim Harrison, but others were delivered by Professor Dudley Shallcross, Dr Alison Rivett and postgraduate students Sarah Glover and Sophie Franklin. In one case the head teacher noted ‘it was the first time a female scientist had visited the school and given the children such an experience’.
‘This level of engagement comes about through careful planning, organisation and people putting themselves out,’ said Harrison. ‘This scale of the engagement would not have been possible without funding from small project grants and sponsorship from the Royal Society of Chemistry, EDF Energy, the AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust and the Sidmouth Science Festival.’
Bristol ChemLabS, a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, was established in 2005 following an award of more than £5 million from Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). Its outreach programme seeks to engage with teachers, schools and students of all ages to provide excellent teaching and learning opportunities in chemistry. Full details of the outreach events can be found on the Outreach web pages.
Dr Alison Rivett demonstrating ‘Gases in the Air’ at a primary school in Gloucestershire