is first school in the country to deliver Spectroscopy in a Suitcase

Monday February 17, 2020

Working with the Royal Society of Chemistry, Concord has been approved as the first school in the country to offer Spectroscopy in a Suitcase (SIAS). Spectroscopy in a Suitcase is a programme that brings analytical chemistry teaching to life with a free hands-on spectroscopy workshop in your classroom, according to the RSC. SIAS provides:
  • a chance to engage with fundamental techniques of analytical chemistry
  • hands-on demonstration of UV-visible, infrared and NMR spectroscopy
  • insights into research and industrial applications of these techniques
  • opportunities to hear about further study in chemistry-related career options
After three years of applications, Concord’s proposal was successful and the college has since been delivering trial sessions to other schools and colleges in the region, as part of Concord’s ongoing commitment to outreach science. Training was voluntarily undertaken by four Science teachers in order to deliver the practical lectures and is supplemented by further support provided from Concord’s Lab Technicians. Shrewsbury Sixth Form were the first college to trial the free programme led by Concord’s Science Department, and 109 students used the spectroscopy equipment over the course of two days. Wolverhampton Girls’ High School have also trialled the equipment. Concord’s Dr Mark Wild, Chemistry teacher, who headed the application said: “We’re delighted to be able to deliver Spectroscopy in a Suitcase to other schools and colleges around the country. This is something that universities do. “Each year, we aim to deliver these sessions to 500 students – and we’re aiming to run up to 15 sessions each academic year. “Already since our first trial, we have a further five schools booked in including Thomas Telford, and we hope for many more. “Beneficially, schools can book anytime directly through the RSC website, and most importantly, we’re able to deliver the sessions at Concord.” He added: “Whilst we try and run these courses in our dedicated Projects Lab, we have the capabilities to use any of the twenty-one Science classrooms or run multiple sessions, so it’s ideal even for large groups of students.” The state-of-the-art equipment, worth over £25,000 has also ‘inspired’ Concord’s Sixth Form students’ Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) projects, according to Dr Wild. “Students are now able to undertake research investigations using industry-level equipment, exploring UV-vis and IR. And whilst not all research-based chemistry projects work as students expect, they gain knowledge and understanding of the harsh realities of science and must create scientific conclusions including the potentials downfalls and inconclusive data they may have attained.” Dr Wild added: “Whilst we have the resources to now deliver UV-vis and IR investigations, we hope to collaborate with the RSC again to introduce the full spectroscopy programme, including Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. “Hopefully, Concord will become a science hub that can support the region’s students with EPQ projects too. For example, students who make their own samples of aspirin or projects alike would be able to come to Concord to test the purity and conduct other analysis.”