Four school pupils holding box with hanging crystals

Aberhill Primary School with their amazing display of crystals

Over 350 school pupils within Fife are now on their way to becoming scientists of the future after taking part in a fantastic crystal growing competition organised by Fife College.

Staff from the College’s Science Department have been busy working with 20 schools from across the region to help them grow their crystals and introduce the children to the world of science.

The sparkling crystals have been a hit with children in the primary six and seven and offer a very memorable practical experience. Some schools visited the College as part of the project where they presented their crystals to the staff. While they were there they also watched some fun visual experiments led by staff in the College’s labs including ‘big bang’ and ‘elephant toothpaste’.

Yvonne Bayne, Curriculum Manager for Science is excited about the project and the benefits it has, not just for the pupils involved but also Fife College staff.

Said Yvonne: “We are all aware of the STEM agenda and the importance of encouraging pupils as young as possible to become interested in subjects such as science. The crystal growing competition is a great example of this. Staff go out to help the schools who are having difficulty getting started, they view their crystals and listen to their presentations.  Some come in to the college to set up displays of crystals, give talks and observe the interactive demonstrations. Staff take part in the display day and interact with the pupils and also help judge the competition.

“This is a great experience for the pupils, their teachers and College staff - the pupils this year have created some amazing crystals and each one is unique.

“We have been working with schools to understand how this project can further benefit schools in gathering evidence of learning for young people in the Curriculum for Excellence Framework.  This project is part of our commitment to encourage more young people to choose STEM related subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Science).”

The aim set by the competition is to grow the best-looking crystal from Potash Alum in approximately five weeks – winning schools will be judged in the coming weeks.  Potash Alum is safe to use and approved by the Royal Society of Chemistry.  Schools receive an information pack in advance of the competition with full information and safety advice on how to grow amazing crystals and hopefully, amazing careers in science in the future!

College Science staff are looking forward to continuing the partnership with schools by launching their annual ‘Crime Scene Investigation’ in the coming weeks  - forensic style workshops for high school pupils.