by Yvonne Baker
The sign of a good party is when guests are reluctant to leave. Similarly, the sign of a good day sharing science, technology, engineering and mathematics with people must be when they are still there, exploring resources and sharing ideas, long after you expected the place would be empty.
So it was with our second family open day at the National Science Learning Centre and the National STEM Centre. This time the day was themed around chocolate, which was bound to bring people in, but with over 300 children, parents, grandparents and others choosing to spend a sunny April Saturday with us, I think we can justifiably call it a success.
Professor Paul Walton from the Department of Chemistry at the University of York kept the youngest to the oldest (and there was quite a range) enthralled with a romp through the chemistry of chocolate, making quite complex science understandable and engaging. His talk culminated in the world premiere of a chocolate so smooth and luscious that the faces of those lucky enough to taste it said everything – this really is a substance which, although not containing oxytocin (‘the cuddle molecule’), does a good job of making us happy partly through the wonders of chemistry. We learnt about jiggly and straight molecules, skin elasticity and the chemical formula of a human being (it’s complicated!). We also got to understand why you lose your taste when you hold your nose – in the case of chocolate, it’s down to those volatile polyphenols!
Watch the video to get a feel for the day
Here is the entire video of Professor Paul Walton’s presentation – although be warned it is over 35 minutes long, with variable video and audio quality
Our thanks should also go to Flavoursense Nation for their range of hands on activities exploring the role our senses play in the perception and experience of flavour and foods.
Filed under: Contemporary Science, Demonstrations, science demonstrations, Yvonne Baker | Tagged: Chocolate, Easter, enrichment activities, Open day, primary science, Science Learning Centres, video, Yvonne | Leave a Comment »