We always like to welcome visitors in to Northgate and were pleased to be joined by Dr Stephen Ashworth from the University of East Anglia to deliver an exciting ‘Kitchen Chemistry’ demonstration after school. We have some budding scientists amongst our students so it was an opportunity for them to see some experiments using everyday objects they may find at home. Jimmy, Year 9, tells us more about the demonstration:

‘As part of STEM club Mr Russell organised for Dr Steven Ashworth to deliver a talk and demonstration he termed ‘Kitchen Chemistry’. There were lots of different experiments and they were all easy to do and used accessible ‘ingredients’ but still impressed those of us who attended.

There was lots going on but I will explain as much as I can. For example, one of the first experiments was to show how the density of water changes at different temperatures.  He had two bottles with the caps balanced on top of each other, one bottle was filled with hot water with red dye and the other was filled with cold water and no dye. The point was that because the hot water is less dense it stays in the top bottle and the dye does not spread. When the experiment is flipped so the hot water is at the bottom the hot water rises and mixes the dye with the cold water.


Another experiment was pouring CO2. First vinegar was mixed with baking soda in a jug which produced lots of bubbles filled with CO2. Then after waiting for the bubbles to die down a candle was placed in another jug and the first one upended over it  which caused the candle to go out. This is because CO2 is heavier than air meaning it can be poured. This means that when the jug was upended over the candle the CO2 sank to the bottom and forced all the oxygen out of the jug causing the candle to go out.

The final experiment was to demonstrate the effects of milk of magnesia on your stomach. There was a plastic container filled with water and to this Dr Ashworth added a vegetable indicator to show whether a substance was acidic or alkaline. He then added an acid to simulate alcohol, causing the liquid to turn yellow. To the liquid he added a white powder called milk of magnesia which is designed to neutralise your stomach acid. This caused the liquid to revert back to a green colour showing it is neutral. He kept adding more and more acid but as there was still milk of magnesia dissolved in the liquid it was able to keep neutralising it.’

These experiments certainly demonstrated that science is all around us and showed our students how some of the theory can be demonstrated in experiments.

A big thank you to Mr Russell and the Science Department for organising the session.

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