As part of the Trio Sci Cymru programme, Bangor University Chemistry offers STEM enrichment activities through their 3-year workshop programme.
Bangor Chemistry offers targeted chemistry workshops which tie into other KS3 subjects and real-world applications. With an emphasis on hands-on, wet chemistry activities, students get to hone their practical skills whilst broadening their understanding of how science dictates the world around us.
Trio Sci Cymru Bangor is led by Dr. Lorrie Murphy, Miss Emma Withers, Mrs Delwen McCallum and a team of workshop delivery staff.
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At Trio Sci Bangor, we deliver engaging, cross-disciplinary science workshops and online content to secondary school students across North Wales. Through nurturing practical skills and applying classroom science to the real world, we aim to increase science uptake and participation for a more informed, inspired and aspirational generation of scientists in Wales.
Below are examples of our content. Content may change or differ from that on offer at any one time.
Trio Sci Bangor activities include:
CHEMISTRY OF ART
This cross-disciplinary workshop focuses on the ‘chemistry of art’. In this session, we bring classroom chemistry to the real world, covering how paint is made and the chemical properties of its components. Students learn how the chemical structure of pigments gives them colour; about the environmental impacts of different solvents; and about the binding properties of natural versus synthetic materials. We also introduce the role of additives and explore the applications of coatings in a range of industries. This workshop is hands on with a strong practical component. Students use natural pigments to make their own paints from scratch and are encouraged to explore how changes in composition can affect its properties. We finish with a twist, as certain pigments double up as pH indicators. Students take part in a ‘pH investigation’: using an indicator scale for reference, they determine the pH of a selection of mystery substances. All students leave with a ‘take home pack’, detailing relevant careers and providing instructions for experiments which can be carried out at home.
CHEMISTRY OF FLAVOUR
Workshop 2 concentrates on the ‘Chemistry of Flavour’. Students explore different flavours through a tasting session and are introduced to the biological mechanisms involved in taste. We use a bespoke interactive model for accessible communication of the concept of receptors. This allows pupils to handle model chemicals and observe how chemical conformation is critical for flavours to be perceived. Students experience first-hand why mints feel cold; understand the evolutionary adaptations that give chilies their spice; and discover why supertasters are left with a bitter taste in their mouths. This workshop has a strong focus on current chemistry research, occurring both locally and globally. Students learn about the benefits of collaboration; the applications of flavour science techniques in food manufacturing; and how the analytical methods used in flavour chemistry extend throughout the environmental, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Individuals are tasked with designing an experiment of their own to answer a relevant, real-world research question. Discussion with peers and tutors is encouraged as students experience what it takes to become a scientist for themselves. All students leave with a ‘take home pack’, detailing relevant careers and providing instructions for flavour-themed experiments which can be carried out at home.
CHEMISTRY OF GREENHOUSE
GASES This cross-disciplinary workshop focuses on the ‘Chemistry of Greenhouse Gases’, linking chemistry, climate science and physics. In this session, we bring classroom chemistry to the real world, covering the warming effect of greenhouse gases, the human activities that give rise to greenhouse gases and additional consequences of specific greenhouse gases e.g. ocean acidification due to CO2. Students learn the physics behind how solar radiation is absorbed and re-emitted by greenhouse gases to warm the atmosphere; how carbon dioxide reacts with water to form carbonic acid; and how an acidic ocean reduces carbonate availability, impacting the survival of marine life. We look at how shells start to dissolve in acidic environments and consider the types of creatures that might be affected if the pH of the ocean drops. This workshop is hands on with a strong practical component. Students use acids and alkalis to generate carbon dioxide. They then trap this gas and use it to acidify their own miniature ocean, visualised with a pH indicator. The outreach scientist demonstrates state change and acidification by introducing dry ice to a strong alkaline solution containing universal indicator. The students observe a spectacular bubbling display as the solution moves through the colours of the rainbow whilst water vapour pours from the beaker. The session is concluded with an experimental demonstration in small groups. Each group uses calcium chloride and sodium bicarbonate to produce a visible calcium carbonate precipitant. They then add an acid to see this dissolve, and bring it back again by addition of an alkali. All students leave with a ‘take home pack’ which includes and short booklet of ‘researcher profiles’. This details current research relating to greenhouse gases that our postgraduate student ambassadors are involved in. Students also receive a ‘do it at home’ experiment to encourage extracurricular STEM activities and promote parent engagement. This provides instructions on how to use household acids to dissolve shells, summarises the science behind it, and informs on the real-world impact.
CHEMISTRY OF WATER
This cross-disciplinary workshop focuses on the ‘Chemistry of Water’. In this session, we bring classroom chemistry to the real world, covering the many uses of water, the steps of the water cycle, and the differences between hard and soft water. We take a look at different nutrients and chemicals that can end up in natural water reserves and explore the natural and human processes that transport them there. This workshop is hands on with a strong practical component. Students work in pairs to follow laboratory procedures to test different water samples for different chemical compounds. They independently test for copper, carbonate, sulphate and nitrate. In groups, students interpret worksheet information and use this to instruct their demonstrator to correctly test for 5 further compounds. Based on their results, students use information provided to work out which land use might exist near to the site that their water was sampled from. There is also the opportunity to present their findings to classroom peers and determine the differences between each groups’ samples. Students also engage in a demonstration of hard water formation. They work together to estimate volume in relation to rock porosity and observe nutrient transport in real-time. All students leave with a ‘take home pack’ which includes a DIY water molecule and a short booklet of ‘researcher profiles’. This details current research relating to greenhouse gases that our postgraduate student ambassadors are involved in, as well as facts about water. Students also receive a reusable water bottle to reduce their use of single use plastics, and a ‘do it at home’ experiment to encourage extracurricular STEM activities and promote parent engagement. This includes a set of pH indicator strips, and instructions on how to test the pH of household acids and alkalis in water before and after neutralisation reactions.
CHEMISTRY OF HEALTHCARE
This cross-disciplinary workshop focuses on the ‘Chemistry of Healthcare’, linking chemistry, human biology and environmental science. In this session, we bring classroom chemistry to the real world. This workshop looks at the applications of chemistry in the healthcare industry. Students will make their own biodegradable alginate wound dressings and learn about different methods of drug delivery.