Students discover the chemistry of food

Chemistry of food event

Pupils from three local schools have been discovering the chemistry behind our favourite foods at the University of South Wales this week.

Students in Years 10 and 11 from Tonypandy Community College in Rhondda, Cardinal Newman RC School in Pontypridd and Ysgol Gyfun Garth Olwg in Church Village visited the University’s Glyntaff Campus to take part in the event, which was organised by the University’s Schools and Colleges Liaison Team and funded by UHOVI (Universities Heads of the Valleys Institute).

The groups of MAT (more able and talented) pupils used the state-of-the-art laboratory equipment in the School of Applied Sciences to determine the amount of fat and acid in different foods, as well as making plastic out of milk, learning how to make honeycomb and watching educational videos about the chemistry behind food.

Kirsten Owen, 15, from Tonypandy Community College, said: “I’ve really enjoyed using the lab equipment to find out more about what goes into our food. It’s been an interesting day and much more fun than just going through the theory of Chemistry.”

Chemistry of food event

Daniel Thomas, 15, from Ysgol Gyfun Garth Olwg, said: “I enjoy Chemistry anyway but today has been such a good way of looking deeper into what makes up everyday foods. We’ve enjoyed learning how to make different materials from food and finding out what we can create.”

Dr Keri Page, a Chemistry teacher at Cardinal Newman RC School, added: “We want our MAT pupils to get the best grades they possibly can at Key Stage 4 / GCSE level, and events like this are a fantastic opportunity for them to get involved with the practical side of Chemistry. The University of South Wales has some great equipment for them to use, which has really helped spark their imagination and add to the theory they have already covered in school.”

Dr Suzy Kean, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of South Wales, said: “Speaking with students and teachers alike, it is becoming apparent that, these days with increasing budget cuts and squeezes on timetables, practical classes are often the first to suffer.

“Chemistry is a truly hands-on science. We at USW, in conjunction with UHOVI, are thrilled that we can offer enthusiastic students a chance to come and get a real experience of 'doing Chemistry’ and hopefully help fan the spark of curiosity into a burgeoning flame that sees these students pursue science as a further study option.”

Find out more about studying Chemistry at the University of South Wales

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