Chemistry at Work!

On Tuesday P7 visited Aberdeen Uni to take part in the Tech Fest programme. We took part in workshops that were informative, inspiring, exciting and interactive ranging from the DNA of a strawberry to why a jellybaby makes a great part of an experiment.

In our first workshop ‘Not All Chemists Wear White Coats’ we learned about the different ways chemistry is involved in more surprising areas of the world – like chemists whose job it is to make sure sweets will leave us refreshed and wanting more! During this activity we all ate a flying saucer sweet and described what happened in our mouth and the sensations we felt. We now know that the different reactions that happen in our mouth are not happening by accident but the result of work done by chemists in the sweet factory! Needless to say, we were engaged in this workshop from the start.


Next we all took part in an experiment where we extracted DNA from strawberries. We found out that strawberries have a lot of DNA and followed step by step instructions to extract the amazing stuff that makes a strawberry a strawberry. We felt like proper scientists during this workshop as we had our safety glasses and gloves on!

One of our favourites however was the ‘Flashes and Bangs show’ We answered questions and asked really inquisitive questions. We know that chemical reactions are accompanied by a change and that this change can be observed as a change of colour, a change of phase (solid or liquid to gas) or a release of energy seen as smoke, fire, flames or sound.

We were shown the chemistry behind the spectacular effects of coloured flames, fireworks and glowsticks. We were also given examples of how chemistry relates to food with demonstrations showing how much energy is contained within sugar. The show was rounded off by Dr. Alan showing us how he can make ice cream in around a minute using liquid nitrogen! The ice cream was handed to the audience – but only to the teachers. This was the one down point to a really enjoyable afternoon!