Salters Chemistry Camp 2010

After Mr England told the class about Salters chemistry camp I was interested in it. I said I wanted to go, and so I filled in the application to get onto it. Luckily I was successful.  A couple of month later, on July 14th I caught the train up with a school friend, Chris, to a train station in Bath where we were met by people from the university. Once we reached the university we were taken into a room with everyone else that had come for the week and briefed on what was to going to happen. They gave us a book, lunch and an icebreaker to get to know everyone. Then, almost immediately we went into the laboratory to carry out our first experiment. This involved making paracetamol with the equipment at the university. Most of this was the same as in school but there were a few bits I hadn’t seen before. I followed the instructions and made the paracetamol with a person from a different school. After this we were shown our rooms in the university halls where I unpacked. Then me and Chris went to dinner and had some free time.  That night there was a quiz followed by a few experiments done by a professor which was very entertaining.

The next day, after breakfast, we were taken to the next experiment which was called cold light. I was looking forward to this one as it sounded interesting and it didn’t disappoint. It was from 9am to 12.30pm but the time flew by and it was lunch before I knew it. At lunch time we selected our food from a variety of sandwiches and were allowed to wonder off until 1.30 when the next practical was. This was called Clock Reactions & Oscillating Reactions which at first didn’t sound very interesting. Once I found out what was involved it turned out to be better then cold light! As a group of 10 we had to make up solutions that changed colours at particular times. This was done by finding the right concentration of chemicals to add in. Unfortunately we did not win against the other groups but we had a lot of fun. Then after dinner everyone went ten pin bowling which created a great atmosphere before going back to the university to sleep.

On the last day we began with cyanotyping which is an old way to make photographs. We each made a group photo to take home. This was an easy, slow experiment compared to the others as it was the last one. After packing up we then had lunch and said goodbye to everyone before catching the train back to Exeter.  On the train Chris and I looked back at the past few days and we were both glad we went. We did lots of new experiments and things we would not do in school, as well as meeting new people and getting a feel of university life.  Since the chemistry camp I have stayed in touch with many people I met there and have many memories from the three days in Bath.

Ashley Hart

 

Over the first months of 2010, myself and my friend Ashley, decided to apply for a chemistry camp for a week during the summer holidays. The camp itself lasted for 3 days and took place at many different universities across the country, including Cambridge! We chose to go to Bath uni, mainly because it was the closest to where we live, and the cheapest to get to.

Ashley and I said our farewells at Exeter station and we caught the train over to Bath where we were greeted by post graduates, from the uni, who volunteered to take part in the camp.  About 10 of the whole group came by train so we got to meet a few of the other students straight away. A coach came and picked us up where we got great views of Bath while on a short journey to the campus.
When we got to the campus, we went straight into a lecture room in the science department where almost 30 other students were waiting for us to arrive. We were given badges with our name on it, with the colour of our groups and we were given booklets of our timetable and the experiments we will be doing while in the lab.

Ashley was in a different group so we went to meet our groups, I was in the orange group and he was in the yellows. On that day we went straight into a game where we had boxes to fill in on a sheet but we had to find someone from the whole chemistry camp group which would come under that box e.g. who had cereal for breakfast, so we had to ask someone if they did.

We were then taken to where we were going to stay for the two nights over on the other side of the campus. We were put into groups, some of boys and some of girls. We were going to stay in dorms but these were like small houses each with around 10 rooms and a main social area, but only two showers and two toilets to share between us all. It was a good way of experiencing life in the dorms, for a couple of nights anyway. 

After we had put all our bags in our rooms and had a few minutes to chat with other students, we went over to the labs where we did our first experiment. We did experiments using drugs e.g. paracetamol, where we found out what was in them and whether a cheaper version was just a scam to make money.

In the evening, we got tokens where we got to eat our diners in the canteens. Afterwards the whole group played a quiz. Each colour group was split into two and we wrote our ‘new’ group names on paper to give to the post grads. Mistakable, the post grads and teachers kept calling us the ‘O Crow’ but whoever wrote the name made the e look like an o, so our name should have been the ‘O Crew’. I was convinced my group was going to win, but we lost! Admittedly, we got all the questions involving science and songs correct where we listened to songs and had to name them e.g. Blondie – Atomic and Britney Spears – Toxic. However a lot of the questions were like maths e.g. they asked us to multiply the atomic number of lead by 2 the add the group of which chlorine is in the times that by the atomic number of argon, divided by the period which lead is in. We didn’t do too well on that one.

On the second day we did two experiments, one was to make glow in the dark ‘potions’ and the second was to make chemical clocks. In the second experiment we had to use a trial and error system to make the correct solution. We were given times so the solution had to change colour exactly on the time. My partner and I were given 15 seconds, unfortunately we couldn’t get to exactly that but when we mixed the solutions during the competition, which everyone did, our one changed on exactly the 15 seconds, but another pair from our group didn’t manage to get a near enough solution for their time so we were disqualified.

In the evening we went bowling where we split ourselves into teams. That was great fun and we got some great pictures. Then we all went to the arcade and played some ‘competitive’ games. Some of the teachers challenged the students to a game of ice hockey, it’s a shame no one recorded it!

On the last day we got to do one last experiment where we developed our photographs which we took of the group earlier on in the day. We went into another lab where we were given a talk about the chemistry world and it was like our farewell to the camp.

We all got our things and said our goodbyes. Ashley and I got the train back home. Must I add that it was the busiest train I have ever been on considering there were 2 train loads onboard because everything had been delayed. We were pressed against the walls in the passageway by the doors for the whole journey along with 10 other squeezed in.

Chris Madray

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