On Tuesday 26th November, at 8.30 am, Y6 were excitedly preparing for their first trip of the year: to the educational Baylab set up in the UK headquarters of Bayer (a German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company) in the beautiful and sustainable Green Park industrial estate in Reading.
After a one-and-a-half-hour coach journey, we arrived full of anticipation for our stimulating Cosmetic Chemistry workshop. After the slight distraction of the swans in the lake in front of the building, we were greeted by Arun- our knowledgeable, engaging and friendly facilitator- and lead into the building.
Children learnt about some of the work that Bayer does and then they were given their lab coats and goggles and explained the expectations of behaviour in the lab.
The workshop was divided into to two parts: bath bombs and lip balm.
In the first part, Y6 were taught about acids and alkalis, the difference between them and examples of each. They then used scientific equipment such as evaporating dishes, glass beakers, pipettes, crucibles and litmus paper to investigate acids and alkalis and where they sit on the pH scale.
After discussing results, children set about making their bath bombs by carefully weighing and combining citric acid and bicarbonate of soda; to this they added colours and scents; and finally sprayed some witch hazel into their mixture so that they could mould their bath bombs
Whilst the bath bombs were gently baking, we stopped for lunch, tea (adults only!) and salah.
After salah, children returned to the lab and made their own natural lip balm by combining beeswax, avocado or peach oil, colours and scents before placing them on a hot plate to slowly melt and combine. These were carefully poured into lip balm pots and left to set.
Overall, we had a wonderful and inspiring day; Y6 really enjoyed themselves. Many of them expressed a desire to experience more science (especially Chemistry) and work in a science lab in the future. The facilitators were really impressed with the children’s enthusiasm and great behaviour, expressing that it was a pleasure to work with such a wonderful class!
Jazakallah khayr to all the volunteers who accompanied us on the trip for their assistance throughout the day.