On Wednesday 9th December the Chemistry department welcomed both of Kells Lane Primary School’s Year 5 classes into the department. The intended learning outcome was to be able to describe different examples of chemical reactions.

We started with a couple of demonstrations that involved sugar turning black then ‘growing’ out of a beaker, followed by a purple flame being produced when potassium manganite (VII) was mixed with glycerol. Both were met with collective ‘Wow’s’. These were both used to emphasise the importance of safety.

Students were then asked to place a copper Christmas tree into a beaker of silver nitrate. As the lesson progressed a displacement reaction took place which resulted in the ‘tree’ looking as if it was covered in silver tinsel. There was lots of ‘Miss, look at it now!!’

The main activity was a class practical to make and test hydrogen gas. It was a challenging activity for a number of them, manipulating the rubber tubing into a test tube under water without letting the water escape so they knew if they had successfully collected hydrogen or not. However, by the end of the session all groups in Luke Handley’s class had achieved a squeaky pop, and all bar one group in mine had. Thankfully at the last minute a group who had had been able to make a number of tubes of hydrogen passed one to the group who hadn’t. The whole class went silent in anticipation, then erupted into a huge cheer, when at last, they managed to get a very loud, squeaky pop.

The session ended with hydrogen rockets, which again were met by cheers. The students were a pleasure to host, all being well mannered, enthusiastic and engaged. Our two year 13 students who assisted were a big help, as was Mr Robinson, who multitasked between taking photos and assisting year 5.

Claire Robson