LJMU Absolute Chemistry: Sensational STEM in Schools & Colleges
June 07th 2021

LJMU Absolute Chemistry: Sensational STEM in Schools & Colleges

Team Absolute Chemistry have been supporting schools and colleges with fun and enriching, interactive STEM sessions both virtually and in person. Workshops cover a whole range of themes and can including everything from ‘the science around us’ to STEM ambassador inspiration and exciting, explosive experiments!

We spoke to Menna Goodwin to find out more…

“We started life as LJMU Chemistry for All, a 5-year longitudinal project based in 4 cities around the UK and funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry. During this project we identified a cohort of six target schools, they received a range of interventions throughout the year which culminated in a Gala day in our laboratories in the summer term. This process was then repeated until they reached Y11 and, if they continued to study chemistry, they were invited into the laboratories for three Y12 days. A second cohort was identified in the 2nd year of the project who continued until the end of Y11.”

“Due to the success of CfA, we have continued to secure funding from Shaping Futures and have changed our name to LJMU Absolute Chemistry. We are now working with eight schools and numerous 6th form colleges in the Liverpool City Region, delivering school-based and university-based outreach to learners aged 14-19. We follow the same plan of two school events and one University event at pre-16 level and four University days post-16.”

When the Covid pandemic forced schools to close, the Absolute Chemistry team adapted to continue their offer. They converted all of their available resources to a virtual format, developed a website to host their events and a platform to host a range of free activities. Their interactive workbooks, videos, activities and quizzes allowed learners to access and complete events from any location.

“LJMU Absolute Chemistry has been extremely successful due in large part to our fantastic team. We are a very diverse group who are passionate about Chemistry Outreach and all it can do. We all bring such different skills (academic staff, qualified teachers, admin support etc) that the project flows really well. The team currently consists of Dr Linda Seton (School of Science), Dr Andrea Mallaburn, Dr Victoria Brennan (both from the School of Education) Hannah Williams (Outreach) and myself, Menna Goodwin (School of Science) – but we are supported by everyone at the LJMU Outreach team”

Dr Linda Seton and Dr Andrea Mallaburn are both dedicated STEM Ambassadors. Absolute Chemistry incorporates LJMU undergraduates and postgraduates along with industry professionals to enrich their sessions.

“We have also provided resources and equipment for our partner schools to use in between events – e.g. Periodic Table Battleships, Element Bingo, Chemistry Career Top Trumps, STEM club resources and home learning packages.” Menna Goodwin, LJMU Absolute Chemistry.

We’d like to congratulate Absolute Chemistry on continuing these amazing events virtually through lockdown from classrooms and labs to living rooms and kitchens – amazing!

The team have now secured funding from the RSC to develop and deliver a CPD program for primary teachers too.

Take a look at their Twitter feed for more sensational activity images.

6 Week STEM Club Resources & School Activities: LJMU Absolute Chemistry
Request a STEM Ambassador to inspire your learners

Schools involved:

All Saints Catholic High – Bebington Coop Academy – Broadgreen International College – Cowley International College – West Derby School – Woodchurch High School – Fazakerley High School – The Academy of St Francis of Assissi – The Grange Academy – St Chads Catholic and Church of England High School – St Augustines Catholic High School – Calderstones High School – Archbishop Beck Catholic High School – Archbishop Blanch School – North Liverpool Academy – Winstanley College – Carmel College – Hugh Baird College – St Hildas Church of England High School – St Julies Catholic High School – Wirral Metropolitan College

Absolute Chemistry event examples:

Working scientifically – a whistle-stop tour of rates of reaction, including glow sticks, Iodine clock, elephants toothpaste and custard bombs!
Chemistry in your shopping basket – looking at Chemistry all around us
Measuring for Success – an introduction to titration using thermometric titration
Bonding workshop – using Molymods to visualise organic molecules and discuss covalent bonding
Chemistry of large molecules – an introduction to polymers including acting out polymerisation, cross-linking polymer slime and thermosoftening polymers
Careers in chemistry – an assembly play performed by our drama students highlighting career opportunities in chemistry
STEM ambassador talks – LJMU students and other professionals visit schools to talk about their journey

Images courtesy of LJMU Absolute Chemistry and Gareth Jones

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Selena Ledgerton Selena Ledgerton
Selena Ledgerton Web, Media & Marketing Manager e: [email protected]