Kickstart Science - Chemistry

Students in a chemistry lab

At the School of Chemistry we aim to inspire students and to let them explore the exciting side of Chemistry. We have wonderful staff that can help with all the experiments and allow students to see demonstrations using analytical equipment. The students will also be doing many hands on experiments using analytical instruments and chemicals not readily available to high schools.

In our two hour workshops the students are able to perform many experiments that are both time consuming in the school environment and sometimes not possible due to the chemicals and equipment involved. The experiments are set up for ready use and supervised by qualified and experienced university staff. The staff explain and demonstrate clearly each experiment in order for the students to competently perform the experiments at their own pace.

The School of Chemistry has all types of scientific equipment that can be demonstrated to students. These include atomic absorption spectrometers, gas chromatographs, infrared spectrometers, mass spectrometers, as well as all types of glassware and chemicals for any type of experiment.

Modules offered:

You can select from the following workshop options:

  • Chemical monitoring and management (5-6 experiments from the below list)
  • Chemical monitoring and management (3-4 experiments) with Forensic Chemistry (1-2 experiments)
  • Chemical monitoring and management (3-4 experiments) with Industrial Chemistry (1-2 experiments)

If you have specific requests for which experiments you would like covered in your session, please email . If you would like to cover concepts from Shipwrecks or Production of Materials, please contact us to discuss what we can do for your class.

Please click the headings to see the content for each module.

Core experiments: Chemical Monitoring and Management >

Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy:
To demonstrate the analysis of the iron content in water. This instrument may be used for the highly sensitive analysis of very low concentrations of metals in water. We also do a spectacular flame test for many of the salts.

Sulfate Content Determination in Fertiliser:
This experiment is a hands-on practical where the students are able to experience first-hand the use of a gravimetric technique for the analysis if sulphate in lawn food and to experience the limitations of an analysis of this type. They will be using vacuum equipment and sintered glass filters that are not readily available.

Determining the Iron Content in Natural Waters:
This experiment is hands-on and shows another type of analysis of metals present in water using a scanning absorption spectrometer. This experiment also demonstrates the use of chemicals to first create a coloured chemical complex to enable this technique to be used.

Determination of Hardness in Natural Waters:
This is a hands-on practical experiment and helps the students to master the very important chemical analysis technique of titration.

Determining the Chlorine Content in Natural Waters:
The analysis of chlorine in water is a very important experiment. This hands-on practical uses a titration but this time of a very different sort to analyse chlorine in water using chemicals not readily available to high schools.

Dotpoints addressed from the Chemistry Stage 6 Syllabus Core – Chemical Monitoring and Management:
1, 3 and 5. These experiments combined give excellent exposure to all types of analysis techniques and methods and teach the students the finer details of why and how the experiments are carried out.

Option: Forensic Chemistry >

Infrared Spectroscopy for the identification of polymers (also relevant to Chemical Monitoring and Management and Production of Materials)
This vital analysis tool is used here to identify various polymers using counterfeit banknotes as a case study.

Gas Chromatography (also relevant to Chemical Monitoring and Management)
This experiment uses gas chromatography to demonstrate the analysis of the alcohol content in wine. This equipment may also be used for the analysis of a huge range of substances including vitamins, fragrances and flavours and many more. It is also an important technique used in forensic analysis.

Gel Electrophoresis:
Here we demonstrate the technique of gel electrophoresis to analyze both DNA and dye samples.

A series of experiments and techniques is used here to show how the evidence of poisoning can be assessed.

Various techniques using luminol, iodine and nihydrin are used to perform an analysis of the presence of fingerprints and blood samples

Dotpoints addressed from the Chemistry Stage 6 Syllabus Option – Forensic Chemistry
3, 4, 5, 6

Option: Industrial Chemistry >

The Reaction of copper and concentrated nitric acid / Le Chatelier’s Principle –NO2/N2O4 – covers equilibrium as well as reactions of metals (also applicable to Shipwrecks)
This experiment is used to not only show the reaction of a concentrated acid with a metal but also to illustrate equilibrium using the resultant gases and varying temperature changes. Le Chatelier’s Principle is demonstrated by invoking a colour change inside a sealed tube containing NO2/N2O4 (from the previous reaction).

The Solvay Process:
This experiment involves the reaction of aqueous sodium chloride with ammonia gas and solid carbon dioxide to produce solid sodium hydrogen carbonate this decomposes to sodium carbonate.

The Production of Sodium Hydroxide – Chloralkali Process:
This experiment is used to illustrate the industrial process involving the electrolysis of brine (sodium chloride solution) to produce sodium hydroxide.

Dotpoints addressed from the Chemistry Stage 6 Syllabus Option – Industrial Chemistry
2, 3, 4, 5, 8

Frequently asked questions

Workshop details    
Dates and times available Workshops are available throughout the year. Please visit our booking portal to view available dates and make a booking.
Duration Workshops run for 2 hours.
Class size Chemistry requires a minimum class size of 15 students. If your class size is smaller than this, please contact and we can schedule you with an existing booking.
Program fees $29.70/student (inc. GST)
Bookings To make a booking, simply visit our booking portal.
Confirmation Once your booking has been finalised, an email confirming dates/venues will be issued to you.
Terms and conditions Please ensure you have read, understand and agree to the Terms and Conditions of your booking.

Can I combine different modules in one session?
Yes. The core module, Chemical Monitoring and Management, can be combined with any of the experiments in the Industrial Chemistry, Shipwrecks, Corrosion and Salvation or Forensic Chemistry optional topics in one two hour session.

Do I need to provide worksheets?
No, all workshop materials will be provided. Please have your students bring a pen.

Do my students need to wear school uniform?
Preferable but not essential. Students must wear closed in shoes and long hair be tied back.

Can I park on Campus?
No bus parking is available on campus. See the Driving and Parking section of the University website for more information.

Can we get public transport to Kickstart?
Most school groups come on the train - it's a 30 minute walk from Redfern Station. Also many buses pass the University along Parramatta Rd or City Rd. From the Parramatta Rd bus stop it is a 5 minute walk. See the Public Transport section of the University website for more information.