Primary school pupils taught about science of fireworks at Rednock School in Dursley
9:30am Friday 9th November 2012 in News By Daniel Chipperfield, senior reporter covering Dursley, Cam, Wotton-under-Edge, Sharpness, Slimbridge, Berkeley, Coaley, Uley, North Nibley, Stinchcombe and Cambridge
PRIMARY school pupils in the area were invited to Rednock School in Dursley to get their own hands-on experience of the science of fireworks and their dangers.
Over 50 children from Uley, Sharpness, St Joseph's, Coaley and Slimbridge schools attended the truly explosive event as part of Rednock’s science outreach programme.
Using various metals commonly found in fireworks, chemistry teacher Ben Hill produced orange, blue, green and bright red flames as well as making his own firework out of a tin to the amazement of the pupils.
The children also paid rapt attention when Mr Hill showed how a chip pan fire could be dealt with safely and what a hydrogen explosion looked, and sounded, like.
In addition Mr Hill took a novel approach to show how the fire triangle of oxygen, fuel and heat worked by making a digestive biscuit burst into flames.
Then the children, with safety glasses and close supervision, got to try some exciting experiments of their own with the various metals found in fireworks.
The workshop is aimed at encouraging more youngsters to be passionate about science and to continue it in higher education.
Working at the science specialist school since September, Mr Hill spends one day a week taking his workshop to schools in the area showing children that science can be fun and actively encourages its pursuit.
"The overall aim is to enthuse and engage the kids with science so that they opt to study more science and related subjects, such as mathematics and technology at Key Stage Four and within our sixth form," he said.
"Ultimately, we feel this will give them the best chances in life, particularly when it comes to higher education and employment."
Headteacher David Alexander was pleased with the reaction Mr Hill's experiments were getting - even if there were some unwanted side effects.
"It's not often that you want the smell of rotten eggs to be around but in Ben Hill's case I will make an exception," he said.
"Several parents, primary school students and head teachers have contacted me to say how exciting the presentations have been."
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