Bangor University

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.

Find out more here:

Bangor’s activities:

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.

Bangor Trio Sci Cymru Team

Emma Withers
Project Manager

Emma graduated from the University of Bath with a degree in Biochemistry in 2015. Her love of nature and the outdoors brought her up to North Wales in 2017, where she completed a Masters degree in Conservation and Land Management at Bangor University. Now Emma works as Project Manager on the Trio Sci Cymru project in the hope that her fascination in all things science will motivate school students to think the same. In her spare time, Emma enjoys rock climbing, running, attempting to kite surf and hanging out with her dog, Willow.

Siobhan Jones

Siobhan Jones
Clerical Officer

Meet Siobhan, the Clerical Officer within the Trio Sci Cymru team at Bangor University.  Shiv has worked at Bangor University for over 15 years, mostly within the School of Chemistry.  During her time at Bangor, she has worked closely with secondary schools in Wales. Shiv has enjoyed arranging outreach activities such as the Salters Competition, RSC Schools Analyst Competition, Chem Pharma event, Top of the Bench and many more, with the aim to spark an interest in science in young people. In her spare time, Shiv loves watching rugby (not taking part!), walking round Anglesey, taking part in outdoor activities and looking after her crazy dogs.

Kelly Campbell

Kelly Campbell
Outreach Scientist

Kelly completed a degree in Biology at Liverpool John Moores University, during which she took part in different marine and ecology projects around the world. She also worked as a Research Assistant in a marine biology lab in Australia, which involved a range of tasks from tagging sharks to measuring shells. Kelly currently works at Bangor University as an Outreach Scientist, delivering exciting chemistry workshops to high school students. In her spare time, Kelly likes to take part in outdoor activities such as rock climbing, running and cycling, which brought her to live in North Wales. 

Jack Owen

Jack Owen
Outreach Scientist

Jack works as an Outreach Scientist for the Trio Sci Cymru project at Bangor University. He grew up in Caernarfon, went to school at Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen and then went on to study for a Master’s in chemistry at Bangor University. While studying at Bangor, Jack researched ways of storing hydrogen gas for use as a clean fuel. In his spare time, Jack enjoys cricket, rugby and football as well playing a variety of video games.