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Silver CREST Award enriches students STEM studies

Students collect their Silver Chemistry Crest Award certificates

Each year, pupils from the Fourth and Fifth Year at Stockport Grammar School have the opportunity to take part in the Silver CREST Award.

The award is run by specialist Chemistry teachers. Last year, 25 pupils split into three groups achieved the Award.

One of 2020’s group projects investigated the topic of pain relievers and the organic chemistry behind them, including its functional groups, and carried out chemical tests for them.

Guided by their teachers and using SGS’s state of the art chemistry labs, the pupils formulated a sample of synthesised aspirin and tested it using recrystallisation. They then analysed the product and calculated its purity by doing a titration experiment.

Group member Yicheng Xia said: “Throughout the project we evaluated our experiments, to see how we could improve them to obtain more accurate results. I found many of the practicals fascinating because we could use equipment and techniques that we don’t normally do in class.

“I’m now studying A-level Chemistry at SGS’s Sixth Form. I believe the CREST project has contributed to my learning of Chemistry at A-level and will help me beyond the classroom. I found the project really inspiring; it is a fantastic opportunity for young people to explore an area of a subject that is beyond the syllabus, and learn some useful knowledge and skills.”

SGS Chemistry teacher Jess Berry said: “The pupils worked extremely hard both individually and as a team throughout their project. We guided them through areas of the chemistry and facilitated the practical work but everything else was down to them. Their final project was very detailed and they should be very proud of what they achieved.

“The award has helped them to further their chemistry knowledge as well as apply previous knowledge to unknown situations. It has also helped them to assess risks when carrying out practical work and understand how to carry out scientific research.”