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Kimbolton School Chemistry Masterclasses for Local Primary School Pupils

Established in January 2010, our Chemistry Masterclass is held in the Spring and Autumn Terms and has an audience of Year 5 or 6 children (and their parents or carers) drawn from local primary schools.

It is a fast-moving, action-packed exploration of a particular topic of Chemistry and, though billed as a demonstration, it includes plenty of audience participation and lots of fun.

Aims

It aims to stimulate a real interest in scientific discovery among local primary school children. As their parents and carers also watch the demonstration it provides the additional benefit of increasing their scientific understanding too.

Background

It was introduced in January 2010. Its roots lie in our Christmas Chemistry Lecture, an annual feature in our school calendar that gives our pupils and their families the opportunity to participate in super-sized experiments, and in our Chemistry Department's bi-annual demonstrations to our Prep School children of all ages. In the light of our success with existing Masterclasses in other subjects, our Director of Science recognised the benefit that a similar regular event would bring to our wider community.

Resources

The Masterclasses take place at Kimbolton School and are taught by subject specialists in our main lecture theatre. A class lasts 90-minutes and is held in the early evening; children are accompanied by parents/carers throughout. Two Chemistry Masterclasses are held each year.

The inspiration teaching, enthusiasm and commitment of our Chemistry staff are key to the success of these lectures. Our technicians are heavily involved in preparing for, and clearing up after, each class. 

There is no charge for our Masterclasses.

Impact

We ask for, and receive, feedback from parents at the end of each course. A typical response is:

R attended the chemistry masterclass evening at the end of October and unsurprisingly found it very entertaining. As it happens I am a Chemist and the whole demonstration had me transfixed – I enjoyed it every bit as much as the children! By way of feedback, it was fantastic to see how enthusiastic the teachers were and the chance for the children to get involved was invaluable and can only inspire them further in the subject. Many of the experiments / demonstrations are things they are unlikely to see again but no doubt will stick in their memory whilst studying the subject at secondary school. It proved that the subject can be great fun beyond the theoretical learning they will be experiencing soon.

As a result, R is now desperate to attend the Sciences masterclasses. 

Pupil Involvement

The pupils are drawn from Year 5 or 6 depending on which term the classes fall in.

We estimate that over 3800 local state primary pupils have attended our Chemistry Masterclasses.

Frequency

Two Chemistry Masterclasses are held each year.

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