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Chemistry: The Perfect Gift For Christmas

The best presents are always those that have involved just a little bit more thought and obviously the ultimate gift (perhaps with the exception of that enormous reindeer-motif sweater you got a few years ago) is one that has been handmade especially for you. Students from local schools had the opportunity to put their practical skills to the test doing just that at a ChemNet event held on 18 December at the University of Glamorgan

Under the expert guidance of Dr Suzy Kean, 18 budding chemists from local schools discovered how to make scented bath bombs in a classic metal carbonate reaction; they created festively coloured tea lights which will burn with differently coloured flames and in the final activity the laboratory became temptingly scented with sugary smells of homemade crunchy honeycomb (but of course this couldn’t be consumed for health and safety reasons). Earlier in the day, the students found out how to grow their own crystal Christmas trees.  

Before going home with their own ‘goody bags’ of handmade gifts for mums, grannies or sisters, the students were treated to commercially made chocolate-covered honeycomb and magic Christmas tree kits kindly donated by Dr Dayna Mason, the Regional Coordinator for the RSC in Wales. However, I’m sure that next time a last-minute gift is needed these students will be having a go at doing some chemistry in their own kitchens in order to create the perfect gift.

I am hoping to run a similar event for students aged 14-16 or 16-18 somewhere in the South West region, so if you would like to host a crafty chemistry event at your school, college or university in time for next Christmas please do get in touch with me, Beth Anderson, the Regional Coordinator in the South West. Why wait until Christmas! How about arranging this for Valentine’s day, Mother’s day or just any day you feel inspired to do some creative chemistry!
Beth Anderson is RSC Regional Coordinator for South West England and works with the education team.
Contact her at
Posted by Beth Anderson on Jan 8, 2013 11:06 AM Europe/London

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