Apr 29, 2016

Playful Chemistry at the NI Science Festival

The last few months have seen a wealth of science outreach activities across the country for science festival season.

Photo Credit: Stranmillis University

Over two hundred primary school pupils recently attended a ‘Playful Chemistry’ event at Stranmillis University as part of the Northern Ireland Science Festival.

The event, organised by the Primary Science Teaching Trust’s Academic Collaborators at Stranmillis and supported by Nick Barker - Outreach Officer at the University of Warwick, consisted of an enthralling demonstration and a hands-on chemistry workshop facilitated science specialists. Dr John McCullagh reports:

"Nick had the pupils transfixed as he treated them to a wonderland of colour changes, eruptions, and even explosions, alongside an engaging and fascinating narrative. After a well-earned break, the pupils used household materials to create bubbles in a range of contexts including density towers and effervescent mixtures, and even made their own lemonade! - all to help poor ‘Bobby Bubbles’ make some friends of his own! As all of the workshop activities could be performed (safely!) at home, the pupils were excited at the prospect of transforming their kitchens into chemistry laboratories.

The feedback from the teachers on the day and in follow-up emails was extremely positive as they described the excitement of the children back at school and how the event had given them great ideas for their own future practice. The opportunity to be involved in the festival proved equally invaluable to our student teachers as they experienced first-hand the organisation and management, as well as the educational value, of out-of-school visits.

We are very grateful to Nick for his professionalism and fun and hope to extend this approach to chemistry in our ongoing work with primary schools on behalf of the Primary Science Teaching Trust."


© Photo Credit: Stranmillis University

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