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Schools outreach

The School welcomes approaches from external organisations, groups and individuals to interact and share in the world of chemistry, with several successful events, including the events listed below. Our Outreach Officer is Dr Richard Baker.

The Nigel Botting Meeting for Teachers of Chemistry, Tuesday June 14th 2016

The 20th National Meeting for Scottish Teachers of Chemistry will take place at the University of St Andrews in June 2016. 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. In keeping with last year, there will be no delegate fee. This is made possible thanks to very generous support from SSERC, RSC and University of St Andrews.

A full programme has now been published. Since this will be the 20th meeting, we have taken a look back at the content of the meetings going back to 1997, the flyers from the 1st meeting and the 10th meeting are linked, it seems many of the issues do not change…..

Nigel Botting Meeting Leaflet 2016 (PDF, 401 KB)

Nigel Botting Meeting Leaflet 2006 (PDF, 1,968 KB)

Nigel Botting Meeting Leaflet 1997 (PDF, 1,098 KB)

Information about RSC funding for small projects is also available in the Innovative Ideas 2016 Application Information (PDF, 239 KB)

Chembus school visits

The Chembus usually makes six day trips per year to schools in Fife, Perth & 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 St Andrews staff and students. Please contact us by e-mail for details, chem-rsc@st-and.ac.uk.

Chembus Information/FAQs (also supplied as a pdf: Chembus FAQ (PDF, 31 KB))

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. Our team is usually made up of seven members of staff/students from the University of St Andrews.

What happens during a ChemBus visit?

Demonstration
We start with a short demonstration, about 15 to 20 minutes long, centred around the properties of gases. We try to make this demonstration very interactive asking the pupils questions and getting them to help with some experiments, e.g. 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, we give out prizes for correct answers.

Hands-on activities
The rest of the ChemBus visit consists of four hands-on activities for the pupils. The groups are split into four and we try to get them to have a go at 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 outlined below

1. Making Invisible Inks
2. Properties of Polymers
3. Properties of Carbon Dioxide
4. Making Gold Coins

How many people can participate in each ChemBus session?

Typically we see 25-40 pupils per session.

How long is a ChemBus session?

Each session lasts for the duration of a teaching period in the host school (usually 40-50 minutes).

Can ChemBus visit our school for a full school day?

Yes! We actually have three options (this is dictated by school availability and bus route for that day)

1. We can do a full school day, typically this would allow ~200 pupils to take part over 6/7 sessions.
2. We can do a morning, usually 1st period through to lunchtime, depending on our travel time to the next destination (typically 4 sessions, we may have to leave slightly earlier to get to our next school).
3. We can do an afternoon, usually from lunchtime until the final period of the day (typically 2 sessions).

What does the school need to provide?

Ideally we need 2 laboratory class rooms (one for the demo, one for hands-on activities) access to gas for Bunsen burners and ideally a fume cupboard. Other than that all we need 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 very much appreciated.

Schools Christmas lectures

The popular schools' Christmas lectures in the School of Chemistry are also organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The 20th National Meeting for Scottish Teachers of Chemistry will take place at the University of St Andrews in June 2016. 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. In keeping with last year, there will be no delegate fee. This is made possible thanks to very generous support from SSERC, RSC and University of St Andrews.

A full programme will be published shortly. Speakers this year include Bill Beveridge who will present findings from a recent survey of teachers concerning multicourse teaching “When More means Less- Multicourse Chemistry classes in Scotland”. Adrian Allan from Dornoch Academy will discuss his innovative “Smells like teen shampoo” project. Amber Cochrane, an undergraduate student at the University of St Andrews, will present a practical exercise that links antioxidant properties of household substances with the chemistry of glowsticks. RSC Education Coordinators, Katy Mould and Heather Milton will provide the latest update on RSC support for Scottish chemistry teachers. Kevin Jones will provide insight into a modern approach to research in chemical catalysis, based in Scotland, in his presentation titled “CRITICAT: A Centre for Doctoral Training”.

Since this will be the 20th meeting, we have taken a look back at the content of the meetings going back to 1997, the flyers from the 1st meeting and the 10th meeting are linked, it seems many of the issues do not change…..

Information for school pupils and general public