Scottish university delivers chemistry lessons to pupils in lockdown

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ACADEMICS from a Scottish university have been helping thousands of secondary school pupils in Scotland get science into their homes for lessons

Edinburgh Napier University’s Dr Colin McGill, Dr Fiona Savage and Dr Eric Easton have worked with Education Scotland and the BBC Bitesize team to film a number of practical experiments.

The University is working to help ensure pupils still learn as lockdown restrictions remain in place.

Dr Colin McGill - Education News Scotland
(photo provided) Dr Colin McGill recording a chemistry lesson for pupils

Work with Education Scotland commenced last Autumn, with a selection of practical experiments filmed within the laboratories at Edinburgh Napier’s Sighthill campus.

These films which saw the team work with Ian Stewart, a Chemistry teacher from Beeslack Community High School in Midlothian  are available via YouTube, West OS and Glow.

The content covered in the videos is broad, ranging from general science activities such as making a pH indicator from red cabbage for S1-S3 pupils, to videos to support learning at National 5 and Higher Chemistry such as measuring the average rate of a chemical reaction and testing carbonyl compound.

Dr McGill has also recently completed further filming for the BBC Bitesize platform.

Filmed over three days again at the University’s Sighthill campus, Dr McGill teamed up with Education Scotland and Ian Stewart to devise around 30-40 video ideas for Chemistry and the sciences.

This content was aimed at the Broad General Education (BGE) sciences curriculum all the way up to Higher Chemistry and included demonstrations on testing for gases, electrolysis and cracking alkanes. The BBC Bitesize filming was co-ordinated by Education Scotland.

Edinburgh Napier’s Dr McGill said: “I think these tools are very important to help pupil learning during the pandemic.

“It’s impossible for many practical activities to be done remotely so this at least gives pupils an opportunity to see the practical activity taking place and to then apply their learning from watching the activity.

‘Teachers have been amazing during this pandemic and I would argue that the work they have put in to support their pupils is hugely underestimated, so if these videos have gone some way to help reduce their workload in any way then that is a huge positive for me.

“If and when things start getting closer to normal, these videos will still be very valuable for pupils to go over a practical that they carried out in class, or to support pupils who are absent from school for any reason.

“The technical support from Bill Surrage and Sandra Dunbar has allowed this practical work to take place – I’m really grateful to them for the support they have provided. I’m also really grateful to everyone that has made safe access to the Sighthill campus possible.”