Browsed by
Category: Travels

#ViCEPHEC16 Pre-conference musings and updates ?>

#ViCEPHEC16 Pre-conference musings and updates

It’s that time of year again – Variety in Chemistry Education.  It’s so warm here in Southampton, I’m struggling to spell chemistry properly. In advance of the conference, I recommend Charles Harrison’s piece on the difference between community and clique within the ChemEd community.   By way of update to my post last year recaping the previous few years, particularly the social media outputs: #ViCEPHEC15 Last year’s Storify can be found:’s also one on Paul Taylor’s Ecopedagogy session: Michael Seery’s…

Read More Read More

Spring Cleaning ?>

Spring Cleaning

Well spring is sprung, the clocks are forward and 6am no longer feels like an unworldly time to get up. I’m back from holiday and spent  (a not inconsiderable amount of) time learning the correct usage of the word ‘offing‘. These are the things you do when getting soaked and wind blown somewhere on the Isle of Skye. The archive of this blog stretches back to June 2009, and the hidden archive (from Endless Possibilities v2.0 and 1.0 stretches back…

Read More Read More

Choice is Multiple, Context is Everything ?>

Choice is Multiple, Context is Everything

I feel like writing multiple choice questions has characterized this semester so far. It’s unusual in that I normally feel that battling with my exam questions characterizes the early week of the semester (perhaps this year I’ll learn to write next year’s as I teach the material this year but that’s another issue entirely). But this year has been MCQ central. I normally write them on train journeys. Particularly train journeys like this one (late Monday evening…somewhere in the Scottish…

Read More Read More

#RealTimeChemCarnival ?>


Yesterday we were at the RAF Cosford Museum to run activities as part of the Chemistry at Work event for schools. We’ve been before and it remains a spectacular venue for outreach. Set up and ready to go! Again we took our ‘Is Faster Better?’ activity, looking at catalysis through the catalysed decomposition of hydrogen peroxide. We introduced a new catalyst that introduced a degree of unpredictability to the whole experiment. Keeping the test tubes at arms length! We adapted…

Read More Read More

Maths for Chemistry ?>

Maths for Chemistry

I attended the HEA Developments in Mathematics Support for the Physical Sciences one day meeting at Liverpool University back in April. Various speakers described how maths was tackled in their subject at their university (I was one of them, describing Maths for Chemistry at Keele’s (r)evolution over the past 6 years, you can find the presentation on my slideshare), and a lot of good discussion was had. So why did we need to have a maths meeting for the physical…

Read More Read More

Out and About ?>

Out and About

  Last week, in the midst of the annual battle with Freshers lurgy (it was a cold, not flu this year), we headed of to the RAF Museum at Cosford for a science day for Home schooled children.  It isn’t always easy to get out for a day during semester but we managed to keep the timetables clear for the event. As with our last trip to Cosford (back in June for a Chemistry at Work Day), we took our…

Read More Read More

Variety in Chemistry Education Conference 2013 #vicephec13 ?>

Variety in Chemistry Education Conference 2013 #vicephec13

Having spent the weekend in voluntary social media blackout following the maelstrom that is Variety in Chemistry Education (and PHEC) conference, I’m slowly processing the ideas this Monday morning. My thoughts, however, are still somewhat fragmented, so I’ll post some random snippets below in the hope that sense and order might descend in the process. The first thought is a sense that so many folk are doing great stuff within the constraints of their institution and circumstances. That’s not a…

Read More Read More

Slime Time The Second ?>

Slime Time The Second

Last Sunday we were down at the Royal Three Counties Show in the Discovery Zone. Thanks to Heidi Dobbs, our RSC regional coordinator, we were given the opportunity to do our thing on the third and final day. Folks from Birmingham uni did Saturday and Heidi did Friday with her epic Chemistry Busking boxes.  After our highly successful Keele Community Day, we decided to focus on the slime activity and worry less about hydrogen peroxide/elephant’s toothpaste. Actually we’ve been tearing…

Read More Read More

#HEASTEM13 Conference Reflections ?>

#HEASTEM13 Conference Reflections

Last week I attended the HEA STEM 2013 Conference . It’s taken a wee while to process all the different presentations and conversations. I was exhausted when I got home, and my head was spinning all through Friday as it tried to sort itself out. You can read through the tweets on Storify, collected by Simon Lancaster. It’s lovely to go to conferences where there is so much chatter online, and where presenters respond to things after their talk. There…

Read More Read More

#HEASTEM13 Conference Preparation ?>

#HEASTEM13 Conference Preparation

I’m off to the HEA STEM conference in Birmingham this Wednesday and Thursday. I have to admit I’m on the back foot a bit for this conference as I had no time to prepare my presentation and the CLEARS poster before the end of semester, then time off took priority (also known as a belated honeymoon), and now it’s on Wednesday. After some rather intense effort, the poster was finished this morning and carted off to the wonderful people at…

Read More Read More