Local Primary 6’s FOCUS on Chemistry

The School of Chemistry partnered with Into University to support a local primary 6 class to explore the world of chemistry as part of the FOCUS Programme

IntoUniversity believes that everyone should have the opportunity to access the benefits higher education can provide. They provide learning centres where young people are inspired to achieve. Our local centre is at Craigmillar, and recently Prof. Colin Campbell and Dr Mathew Horrocks delivered 2 colourful workshops exploring the chemistry behind light and how we see things. Pupils experimented with invisible water beads and investigated how coloured filters can distort our vision. The workshop ended with a glowing demonstration of chemiluminescence; a chemical reaction that produces light.

The pupils then had a day trip to the home of chemistry here at University of Edinburgh, to the Joseph Black building. They joined Dr Jenny Gracie and PhD students Cecilia Hong and Heather McEwan for a workshop in solving a fictional crime; the theft of a farmer’s dog. Together they used chemistry to test ‘evidence’ and piece together the puzzle, with both classes solving the dog-napping successfully!

Early contact with pupils is key to breaking down barriers and encouraging young people to think about their future. I’m proud the School of Chemistry was able to support such an impactful project.

Dr Jenny Gracie, Widening Participation and Outreach Officer

Donned in their scaled down lab coats and safety glasses, pupils also got to visit the undergraduate teaching laboratories, observing chemistry students in action, and taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of an active chemistry lab. The Chemistry FOCUS week aimed to show another career path to the young people, and in turn inspire more to take an interest in STEM subjects or consider further education after school.

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students posing together