Salters Festival of Chemistry 2016

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Salter’s Festival of Chemistry was attended on the 7th of May by 4 first year students; Ross Divine, Leonard Van Dijk, Milena Bikova and Jodi Mc Ardle and they’re science teacher; Ms. Morrow. It was a great day out at Trinity College.  At the beginning of the day they were at a lecture hall and had a demonstration about how when you mix a jelly mixture and dry ice there is a chemical reaction. The lecturer called this the ‘Jelly monster’.

After a quick introduction the 4 students were brought to the Cocker Laboratory for their first challenge; The ‘Salter’s challenge’.  In this challenge, there was a murder mystery.  The team of 4 split themselves into pairs.  There were 2 experiments to be carried out.  The first, done by Ross and Leonard, was a chromatography experiment to find out which of the 6 ink samples matched the stain on the victim’s clothes. While the boys were doing this, the girls were carrying out another experiment with white powders.  They had to add Hydrochloric acid, distilled water, Sodium Hydroxide and universal indicator to each of the 6 samples of different powder to find out each reaction.  After doing both experiments, the team came together to solve the mystery and write up the conclusion.

After a bit of lunch, the team were brought back to the lab to do the next challenge; the ‘University challenge’.  In this challenge the team had to mix different chemicals to make the colours red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.  The chemicals they had were Hydrochloric acid, distilled water, Sodium Hydroxide and universal indicator.  They had an hour to complete this challenge.   The first colours were quite simple.  They started off with orange and yellow, they soon found the recipe for red and violet.  It took a little while to find but eventually made green.  They were struggling to make blue but at last had made it.  The judge came over to inspect their colours and she seemed pleased with them.

After the ‘University challenge’ the students, with Ms. Morrow, went back over to the lecture room to see a few demonstrations.  The scientist demonstrating, showed off some amazing demonstrations such as; spraying different chemicals by a blow-torch and watching the colours they turn or filling a cup to the brim with water, turning it upside down with a piece of cardboard on top and turning it upside down without any spilling.  The 4 first year students were brought up to help demonstrate an experiment where you add 2 drops of alcohol to a beaker and place it on top of an electric wire, making sure the lid is firmly on. Usually when you press the button on the end of the wire, the other end will simply spark, but because of the alcohol, the button made the beaker fly off of the wire, landing in the audience.

After all of the demonstrations were finished there was an awards ceremony for the earlier challenges.  Hartstown Community School managed to win 3rd place at the ‘University challenge’ out of all 20 schools involved.  They won a certificate and a molecular model set.