On the 11th of November 2015 twenty year 9 students visited the Black Country Museum to experience how chemistry has helped shape the Black Country from before the industrial revolution and how it can shape the future. On arrival the students were shown a fantastic video of the history of chemistry in the area including iron working, steel working and enamelling. After this the students were lucky enough to see the Newcomen Engine fired up, as this only happens a few times a year and got to see it pump out water from a well just like it would have done hundreds of years ago pumping water from mines in the area.

The students then got to take part in several hands on workshops of chemistry in action. Tata steel showed the students how to extract iron from local ore. Ecton Hill Copper mine showed the students how to extract copper from rocks as well as showing the students how black powder (gun powder) was made and used to blow the rocks apart. Two chemists from NCH Europe unveiled some highly secretive development chemicals. One that takes rust off iron but is so safe you could bathe in it. The second was a brand new hydrophobic nanoparticle, which could keep tissue paper from getting wet by repelling the water. The students’ best part of the day was when they got to try enamelling and making a nameplate. They saw the chemical reactions taking place in the furnace of example pieces and their own were sent home a week later. As well as learning about chemistry the students also got to take part in a remembrance service at the Black Country Museum. At the eleventh hour the students gathered with the families of local servicemen, other local school children and all the other visitors and impeccably observed the silence. This was a fantastic overall experience, which the students enjoyed, and were outstanding ambassadors for the school.

“Our trip to the Black Country Museum was immensely interesting and fun. The range of chemistry experiments we participated in was engaging and expanded our knowledge of chemistry. Overall I think the trip was a success and made myself and fellow students more engaged in chemistry” Lara Morris Year 9

“Whilst there I enjoyed taking a tour of what chemistry can be involved in. I learnt various new things in which I did not know chemistry was involved in. The workshop were we used black powder (gunpowder), by Ecton Copper Mine, I enjoyed the most” Charlie Smith Year 9