Test-Plant Chemistry/Gold and Whisky

Breadalbane Academy

"Chemistry is all around us and the applications of this science are enormous. Breadalbane Academy is a small school in a rural area, yet many of our local industries are science based. We initially plan to work with two of these; the local whisky distillery and the gold mine to help us teach complex chemistry concepts to senior pupils.

In visiting and learning about the whisky making process, we hope that pupils would gain greater understanding of, amongst other concepts, enzyme activity and organic synthesis, leading them to be able build a simple test plant and thus have a mush greater understanding of these areas of chemistry. After a visit to the goldmine, pupils would hopefully have a greater insight into the world of metal chemistry and be able to apply the science learnt to activities being undertaken in the laboratory. We then will expand the project to include further scientific industries that pupils will visit, learn from and apply knowledge gained.

By this collaborative working, pupils will gain a greater understanding of the chemistry taught in school, appreciate how chemists and chemical engineers use their science to undertake useful activities and hopefully avoid disaster when they attempt to mimic these processes with simple test plants in the lab!"

Graham Armstrong - (Project Lead) Chemistry Teacher; completed a MChem and PhD in battery chemistry from University of St. Andrews. After a PGDE has now been teaching for six years and is keen to link chemistry in the real world with that taught in the class room to give students a wider perspective and a better learning experience. He hopes that as well as being more informed pupils will be more enthusiastic, which will in turn raise achievement. He will be organising the chemistry events and classroom activities part of the project.

Lorna Libreri - Head of Science and Biology Teacher; completed a BSC (Hons) Biological Science from Glasgow Caledonian University. This was followed by a graduate research post at both Leicester and Manchester Universities studying Microbial Genetics. After a PGCE at Manchester Metropolitan University, she have been teaching Science and Biology for over 16 years. She has taught pupils from age 11 to 18 and is passionate about improving scientific literacy in young people and inspiring scientists of the future through her own enthusiasm for Science. She has been a Head of Department for over 13 years and now leads a very successful Science Faculty consisting of a team of highly dedicated Science teachers. The Science faculty is the largest in the school and continues to attract a high number of students in each of the Science areas. She will be co-ordinating wider science engagement with the project.

Anja Armstrong - Senior science technician; has a Bsc (Hons) in Biology from St Andrews University and the RSciTech. She brings her skills from working as a research geneticist to co-ordinate resources and provide expertise to the busy science and CDT departments at Breadalbane Academy. She will use her industrial knowledge and technical skills to source materials and provide practical expertise to allow the school based elements of the project to be completed.

Gemma Mowat - Chemistry Teacher; has a BSc (Hons) in Forensic Science with Law from Robert Gordon University and following her PGDE at the University of Dundee, recently joined Breadalbane Academy as a chemistry NQT. She is teaching pupils from ages 11 - 18 and has an enthusiasm for encouraging pupils to participate in extra-curricular science activities and allowing them to experience and make links to science in the working world. She will be participating and organising chemistry events to highlight applications across several levels.

Industrial Partners - For each of the industries that we will be involved with, we will have an industrial partner that will give us key advice and technical support as well as organising visits to their respective industries. The two major partners will be Carol More, production manager at Aberfeldy Distillery and Chris Sangster, Mining Engineer and CEO of Scotgold Resources Ltd - the owners of the local gold mine.

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