Students Across Cambridgeshire Enjoy Chemistry Lessons, Thanks to New Funding

PUBLISHED: 16:24 02 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:32 04 May 2010

pupils in the lab at Kings

pupils in the lab at Kings

THE King s School Ely has joined the City of Ely Community College, Witchford Village College and Abbey College, Ramsey, in a partnership to promote the teaching of chemistry, funded with £190,000 over the next three years as part of the Independent/Stat

THE King's School Ely has joined the City of Ely Community College, Witchford Village College and Abbey College, Ramsey, in a partnership to promote the teaching of chemistry, funded with £190,000 over the next three years as part of the Independent/State School Partnership Scheme.

A total of 37 independent and 145 state schools will be involved in partnership schemes which must have a focus on gifted and talented children, aim to increase university applications from children from disadvantaged backgrounds and raise attainment and participation in science, maths and/or languages.

King's and the three Cambridgeshire state schools have formed the Chemistry Network which focuses on gifted and talented chemistry students in Years 9 and 10 with the aim of raising attainment and take-up of chemistry at GCSE, A-level and university.

Youngsters in Key Stage Three were at King's for a practical master class, hosted by chemistry network co-ordinator, Andrew Thompson.

The day started with a thinking skills exercise designed to show that in order to get the appropriate answer the question has to be carefully formulated. It also afforded an opportunity for the 17 students from the three different schools to get to know each other.

This was followed by a session looking at how models can be used to interpret chemical properties, and how all models have their limitations. The students managed to build and explain complex Lewis binding models using plasticine and cocktail sticks.

A practical exercise, using the process of steam distillation, extracted limonene from the skin of oranges. Limonene gives oranges their distinct smell. Strangely it also gives lemons their smell, and this is a property, left and right handed molecules, the students explored on a molecular level. They then confirmed their ideas by looking at different sugars in a polarimeter.

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