The School of Chemistry strongly believes in engaging with the next generation of scientists through a wide range of activities such as science discovery open days for school and college students from primary to pre-University level. The School is keen to share its fascination with Chemistry and present the latest in research findings to as wide an audience as possible.
The School welcomes approaches from external organisations, groups and individuals to interact and participate in the world of Chemistry.
13 May 2019
The 24th Nigel Botting Meeting for Teachers of Chemistry - The Byre Theatre, Friday 29th May 2020
The 24th National Meeting for Scottish Teachers of Chemistry will take place at the Byre Theatre, St Andrews , on the 29th May 2020. The meeting aims to update teachers on the latest curricular issues and resources, whilst providing a range of useful presentations to inform, enthuse and excite. Plenty of practical activities and supporting ideas will be on offer to take back to the classroom. A buffet lunch and afternoon coffee will be provided. There will be no delegate fee and lunch is free. This is made possible thanks to very generous support from SSERC, RSC and University of St Andrews.
2019 programme and presentations:
Adrian Allan (PowerPoint)
Pilar Gil (PDF)
Prof David Cole-Hamilton (PowerPoint)
Prof Martin McCoustra (PowerPoint)
This year's programme is developing. You can see representative programmes from previous meetings:
Each Christmas, the School invites expert and enthusiastic chemists to give exciting demonstration lectures to local school students at the School of Chemistry.
The ChemBus usually makes six day trips per year to schools in Fife, Perth and Kinross, Angus and Dundee (three during November and three in February, details will be sent out to schools in advance).
The ChemBus is organised by the Tayside local section of the Royal Society of Chemistry although it is heavily supported by University of St Andrews staff and students. Please email the School for details: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is ChemBus?
ChemBus is a minibus that takes chemistry experiments and demonstrations designed for S1 and S2 pupils out to schools in Tayside, Angus, Fife and Perthshire. The team is usually made up of seven members of staff and students from the University of St Andrews.
What happens during a ChemBus visit?
The visit starts with a short demonstration, about 15 to 20 minutes long, centred around the properties of gases. Demonstrators try to make this very interactive, asking the pupils questions and getting them to help with some experiments, for example, dipping flowers into liquid nitrogen.
Questions include asking the pupils to name the gases in the atmosphere and to estimate the temperature of liquid nitrogen. When possible, prizes are provided for correct answers.
The rest of the ChemBus visit consists of four hands-on activities for the pupils. The groups are split into four and demonstrators try to get them to try as many activities as possible in the available time. By necessity this is very flexible and very much dependent on the timings at individual schools. The four activities are:
- Making invisible inks
- Properties of polymers
- Properties of carbon dioxide
- Making gold coins.
How many people can participate in each ChemBus session?
Typically there are 25 to 40 pupils per session.
How long is a ChemBus session?
Each session lasts for the duration of a teaching period in the host school (usually 40 to 50 minutes).
Can ChemBus visit our school for a full school day?
Yes, there are actually three options (this is dictated by school availability and bus route for that day).
- A full school day, typically this would allow around 200 pupils to take part over 6 to 7 sessions.
- A morning session, usually 1st period through to lunchtime, depending on the travel time to the next destination (typically 4 sessions, the bus may have to leave slightly earlier to get to the next school).
- An afternoon, usually from lunchtime until the final period of the day (typically 2 sessions).
What does the school need to provide?
Ideally there needs to be two laboratory classrooms (one for the demo, one for hands-on activities), access to gas for Bunsen burners and a fume cupboard.
Other than that, all that is necessary is local information, such as lesson times, length of lessons and number of pupils in each session. In addition, directions to the school and any other appropriate information would be appreciated.
Fifty-five S1 and S2 school students visited the School of Chemistry as part of their First Chances Foundation programme. They learned about identifying compounds using spectroscopy, studying molecules and atoms on surfaces and saw a demonstration on states of matter, energy and fuels.
Dr Tomas Lebl explained how Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy is used to work out the structures of molecules.
The First Chances scheme is a major initiative of the University of St Andrews, for more information please see the First Chances webpage.