Chemistry Masterclass for Sixth Form Students

Members of the Chemistry Department at Plymouth University visited Newton Abbot College on Wednesday 7 March to provide a group of post 16 students the opportunity to learn about spectroscopy through ‘hands on’ experience.  

Second year Chemistry undergraduate, Will Rumble, and Associate Professor, Dr Mike Foulkes, showed students how to use a state-of-the-art IR spectrometer to demonstrate how different types of chemicals can be analysed as a means  to identify unknown compounds. Students were invited to take part in a functional groups organic chemistry quiz, as well as using the spectrometer to identify different samples of chemical compounds. This unique opportunity was made possible through the university and the Royal Society of Chemistry, whose funding of the outreach work has enabled students’ access to high-tech equipment.

Emelia Cleverdon using the spectrometer
Emelia Cleverdon using the spectrometer

Year 13 Chemistry student, Emelia Cleverdon, explains the importance of the visit: “It was a fantastic opportunity to be able to use such cutting edge technology; this is something we would not have been able to do otherwise. This was the first time I had ever used a spectrometer and it was a great practical revision exercise that will definitely help benefit our studies.”

Dr Foulkes ran the masterclass on spectroscopy
Dr Foulkes ran the masterclass on spectroscopy

Associate Professor, Dr Mike Foulkes added: “The students at Newton Abbot College have been really engaged. The equipment used today is worth in excess of £15,000 and is not something that is readily available in a secondary education environment. The Royal Society of Chemistry’s funding allows us to come into schools and deliver focused classes. The investigations today were linked to the A Level syllabus; this opportunity to undertake problem solving will help in future examination questions.”

Plymouth Univeersity Spectroscopy Newton Abbot College Ofsted Good Secondary School 4
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