Salters Festival of Chemistry 2018

On Tuesday 20th March, Mrs Barclay and four Year 8 students represented Highcliffe School at the Salters Festival of Chemistry

    On Tuesday 20th March, Alice, Flora, James and Isabelle participated in the Chemistry Festival at Southampton University. After leaving school at 8:15, we arrived at Southampton University where we were given guidance on the events of the day.


    The first challenge was to find the criminal that had broken into the lab at the university- to do this we had to distinguish concealed substances to match the white powder that was discovered on the lab ground (after the thief had knocked it over in a quick exit) to one of the six powders located on the suspects' clothes.


    First, we had to add reagents to a solution of the powders and nitric acid. Whether it fizzed or not, or went cloudy would determine which substance we could classify it as, from a chloride, sulphate or nitrate. The second part of this investigation was flame tests, to test for the various metals that were present; we put a small quantity of each powder onto a wire (which was thoroughly cleaned with the flame from the Bunsen burner and acid) and then into a blue flame on the Bunsen burner. Each metal gave off a distinctive colour.



    However, some were extremely similar so we had to distinguish between them by the intensity of the reaction. By placing the information from both experiments together, we could match up the white powder to the guilty suspect. During the experiments, one of the judges came around and questioned us on our understanding of the experiments- lots of questions we knew and some of which not!

    At the end of this experiment we were given an hour for lunch and to relax. After lunch, it was time to partake a challenge. The challenge was based on the idea that, after the robbery, some of the Professor's important substances had had their labels accidentally wiped off during the clean up. This meant we had to judge which indicator was the best this showed whether something was acid, neutral or alkaline. We also had to make these indicators ourselves from a variety of red-skinned fruit and vegetables (tomato, raspberry, blackberry and red cabbage.); we discovered that red cabbage soaked in boiled water was the best available indicator. In the second part of the experiment, we had to identify liquids with just the indicator (to see its pH) and reagents (to test for the presence of substances such as salt). When we had completed the experiment - a little before the end - we handed in our answer sheets for evaluating.

    Whilst the answers were marked, the university students who had been supervising the event did a demonstration using liquid-nitrogen and dry ice. They held different objects in the liquid nitrogen. Including a banana, flowers and a rubber tube. When they had been in for a few minutes, they took the objects out and smashed them on the side of the table! The second demonstration involved a huge test tube of indicator that they added different substances to, this changed the colour of the indicator back and forth showing the colour of acid, neutral and alkali, it resulted in the solution to bubble up and out of the test tube. The final demonstration showed us what happened if you poured boiling water onto dry ice. Vast amounts of water vapour came out of the tray it had been done in and dispersed through the room so we all had cold mist around our feet!

    Finally, the results were read out:- Highcliffe School did not make the top three but it was still a great experience and great day out for all of the students that participated in the festival.

    We all had a fantastic day, experienced working in a University laboratory and learnt new experimental techniques. This was a great way for our students to see how STEM subjects translate to careers.

    Isabelle, Year 8





    Owned by: ABY | Last Published: 28/03/2018 10:09:53 | Next Update: NA


Salters Festival of Chemistry 2018


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