December 2011: From Atoms to Molecules

Despite a slightly Christmas-depleted turnout, plenty of small eager faces awaited Sandy and Lorna Smith and their boxes of model-making supplies on Saturday. Sandy began by explaining about atoms and how they join together to make molecules, what different molecules can be used for, and the meanings of their long and interesting names.

Next we were onto building the molecular models. Each pair of children was given a box of atoms and bonds, and a sheet detailing a simple molecule to build. Following the drawing, and with a little assistance from the adult helpers, everyone soon got the hang of things and progressed from simple molecules such as ethanol and acetic acid…

to isoamyl acetate, MSG, Vitamin B, citric acid and vanillin…

and the boys’ favourite, the smell of poo- skatole!

The really keen lego-builders went on to even more complex molecules such as aspirin, nicotine, paracetamol, adrenaline and histamine.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and went home with a sense of pride in their models, and a new knowledge of what everything around them is made of. A big thank you to Sandy and Lorna Smith forteaching this workshop!

The next workshop will see some real chemistry in action with a chromatography workshop from Tim Sangster: Run, Colour, Run is on the 7th January at Hallhill.



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