Organised by Abby Burr and ‘Children Challenging Industry’, they were set a brief to help solve some problems while trying to test a company’s medicine.
The Children Challenging Industry programme, run by CIEC at the University of York, is aimed at teachers and children in primary schools, and science-based manufacturing companies in the UK. The programme encourages the use of industrial settings to enhance pupils’ experience of working scientifically. It gives the children a chance to tackle real problems that could be encountered within science-based industries, allowing for a deeper understanding of how science is applied to ‘real-life’.
Before the experiments started they needed to complete a lab inspection. This is crucial in making sure it is safe for staff to work. They were asked about the dangers of working with chemicals and lab equipment and they got to grips with enjoying the experiments in a safe way.
The first challenge they came across was separating active ingredients using chromatography. Chromatography is a laboratory technique for the separation of a mixture. The mixture is dissolved in a fluid, which carries it through a structure holding another material. This causes the ingredients to separate.
They then needed to mix together a new medicine that could be used for heartburn. This meant they created some hydrogels. The hands-on experience helped the children understand how science can help people and how the research done in this industry makes a difference to so many.
Several CPI staff volunteered their time towards the morning including Abby Burr, Jenny Pitt, Jill Duncan, Neville Slack, Emma Stokes, Maria Inam and Rachel Findley. The support shown by CPI staff was fantastic and allowed the children to learn a lot from the visit. The children left the facility feeling motivated and inspired to learn more. The visit allowed the pupils to gain a deeper understanding of the use of science in everyday lives.
One student told CPI “I will see you in 10 years when I am old enough to apply for an apprenticeship”. Another student said “I can’t wait to do more experiments. I am going to try really hard in science lessons, so I can work somewhere like this”.