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Sixth Form Science

Sixth Form Science
Wednesday 23rd November 2011 by C. Freeman

Students took part in an extended science experiment as part of their A Level coursework. They had to plan and set up their own individual tests. Their projects, that took weeks to plan and three days to carry out, will form the basis of detailed written work with a deadline later this term.

More than 30 students worked diligently under the supervision of Head of Science, Mr Knight and Mrs Hearne. There were about six separate types of experiment taking place, with many studying the process and rate of a particular chemical reaction. Others made batches of aspirin when they analysed for purity, using either colorimeters, chromatography or by testing its melting point.

Mr Knight said: ‘We wouldn’t advise that any of the aspirin that has been made here is taken by a human! The students have worked really well over an extended period and now they have to record their findings. There is no word limit to what they should produce but it is the quality that counts. They will start off with the aim, then the theory, methods, risk assessment, results and then all the analysis that may include graphs and calculations and an evaluation of the whole project. This is the one piece of work that counts for their coursework and it equates to just under a third of the A2 exam.’

Sixth Former Liam McLeod said: ‘I have been synthesising aspirin using different methods and I am testing it for different levels of purity using melting point apparatus. The aspirin has a particular melting point and the other impurities have a separate one.’

Lucy Reid said: ‘My experiment is to measure the rate of reaction between iodine and propanone within an acid catalyst. It is going quite well. I am recording the absorption of the solution every thirty seconds. The results are as expected. As the reaction takes place the solution is losing its colour; going from a yellowy brown to a clear liquid. I will certainly be making hundreds of calculations over a couple of days, maybe even thousands, so analysing and writing up the data is going to be quite a lengthy process.’

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