It was an early start to this year's U4 Science trip. All ten regular attendees of Science Club, Miss Westall and Mrs Bailey Barnes were at the airport to catch an early flight to Liverpool. When we arrived in Liverpool we all went on a mini-bus to drop the Salters Chemistry Challenge team at Liverpool John Moores University. The competitors were Anna Cregeen, Cate Atkinson, Alice Gibson and myself Ruairi McNally. The member of staff accompanying us was Mrs Bailey Barnes. Meanwhile, whilst we were at the University Miss Westall and the rest of the students: Sophie Long, Liela Wilson, Carys Hoile, Caitlin McConnell, Tom Willis and Ed Moore, went to Liverpool Lime Street station where they took the train to Chester and a bus to Chester zoo.
The University staff introduced us to our tasks for the Salters Festival of Chemistry. There was a morning task and an afternoon task. The first task was to take on the role of a forensic scientist. The aim was to use the skills we had learnt in our class science lessons to solve the crime. We split into pairs. Cate and Anna were together while I was partnered with Alice. Cate and Anna worked on the chromatography while Alice and I worked on the salts. The chromatography was separating the different inks that had been given to us. This works by putting some inks onto a piece of paper. The water soaks up the paper and separates the inks which have been put in that ink to make that colour. The salts task was adding a different liquid into a test tube and recording the reaction that took place. This took a long time to start with, it sped up as we got towards the end. Then we had a biscuit break. However, with this break we were left with an awful lot to do in the last thirty minutes. We swapped roles and carried out the experiment each group had not done. In the first round our results were incorrect, fortunately we had the correct results when we switched over. Cate and Anna had solved the coded clues while they were waiting for Alice and I to finish our salt testing in the first half of the test. We were then able to piece all the evidence together and identify the murderer.
The other group took the train from Liverpool Lime Street Station. After that they took a bus out to the Chester zoo. At the zoo the group listened to talks from the elephant and giraffe keepers and watched the two new born baby elephants and learned why giraffes have blue tongues. Everyone searched out their favourite animals and watch the filming taking place for the new television series of The Secret Life of the Zoo. As it was a lovely day a few ice creams were consumed and souvenirs bought. Meanwhile the people back at the university had been set their second challenge. After a short lunch break in a café we were back in the laboratory this time making an Iodine Clock. We had half an hour to try and achieve a reaction time in thirty seconds. We were given two unknown chemicals and we could use any equipment we wanted to. We decided to place the chemicals together in a conical flask and then placed them in a cauldron of ice. This slowed down the reaction by a few seconds, pushing the reaction time to just under thirty seconds. In the end our reaction took twenty-six seconds. The expected outcome was a colour change in the chemicals from clear to black and we achieved this.
At the University we made our way into the lecture theatre where the prizes were awarded. In the first challenge, which was called The Salters Challenge, we came third. We were all very happy with ourselves. Unfortunately, we were not placed in the second challenge, which was called the University Challenge. Each school was awarded a participation certificate and a bag of goodies. Those goodies included a pen and a pop up frisbee. There were thirteen schools that competed in the competition including King William's College.
While we waited for the others to arrive we all played frisbee in the entrance to the University. That was good fun. We all met up at the Pizza Express by Albert Docks. For the first time that day we could all sit down and relax. The meal was all gobbled up leaving no leftovers at all!
Some of us went on the Liverpool Eye. This gave us amazing panoramic views of the city. We even stopped at the top whilst someone was getting on!
Our day was nearly at an end. We walked along the Mersey to the Seacat. We boarded and were all bound for home. The sunset was incredible. We were all stunned by its beauty as it dipped behind South Barrule. A perfect day could not have come to a more perfect end. We docked and all departed on our separate ways home.
Everyone on the trip said it was fantastic! For the Salters team a new experience and for those who visited Chester Zoo a day of beautiful animals. I would also like to say a huge thank you to both the members of staff who accompanied us on the trip. Mrs Bailey Barnes and Miss Westall without whom such a day would not have been possible. A huge thank you from us all.
Ruairi McNally (U4)