School of Chemistry at Caithness Science Festival 2022

Four public engagement scholars from the School of Chemistry travelled to the most Northern parts of the Scottish mainland to take part in Caithness Science Festival.

PhD students Katie Grant, Ailsa Geddis, Heather McEwan and Emily Noone developed and delivered a range of chemistry activities to pupils from Primary 1 all the way to S6. Over the course of a week, they reached an incredible 802 pupils from some of the most rural locations in Scotland (1 high school and 14 primary schools).

To inspire STEM careers and progression to Higher Education, the school ambassadors delivered workshops exploring the concepts of density, miscibility and emulsions through the making of glitter shakers and chemistry-driven lava lamps. They also explored the pH scale using purple cabbage as a natural indicator and introduced the technique of chromatography through ink pens and M&Ms! Additionally the WiAB project was delivered to the older pupils allowing them to embrace the power of spectroscopy in order to solve some chemical mysteries.

map of scottish schools

It was amazing to hear the pupils saying how much they love science everywhere we went! It really felt like we were inspiring the kids too and making science fun (and accessible to all). My favourite moment was when a few students in P3 came running over to me after the class and told me they were 'really big particles!!!' after we had played the particle game to explain density.


My personal highlight was visiting some of the more rural primary schools in Bettyhill (Farr primary school) and Melvich (Melvich primary school). These schools are about 1.5 hrs drive or so from Wick, and don’t get huge numbers of visitors. The kids were so excited and I think they really enjoyed it.


The trip concluded with a family fun day on the Saturday which showcased hands-on activities to spark scientific minds and inspire the next generation of chemists. This family event saw over 1500 visitors pass through the doors on the day.

I was extremely impressed with the enthusiasm and passion shown by all our presenters in their delivery of workshops and shows, both during the schools programme and on family fun day. Feedback from members of the public and teachers has been extremely positive.


A huge congratulations to Katie, Ailsa, Heather and Emily on behalf of the School of Chemistry!

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