Well, that day has finally arrived – My Year 12 Chemistry class have graduated! The culmination of 13 years of schooling was celebrated today in one big ceremony. It was a wonderful celebration of how far they had come and this being the first step of this new chapter in their lives (apologies for cliche overload – it’s hard not to resort to those well-worn phrases!). Here’s a snapshot of the ceremony:
It was hard to say goodbye, even though I will see most of them again in the coming weeks as they prepare for their upcoming HSC exam. They were my first senior class! Even though my Year 11 class of 26 students was reduced to 15 in Year 12, it has been such a pleasure to play a part in their journey. Something that makes me even prouder is that almost all of my class are going into a science-related field at university – including a couple who are contemplating going into science teaching!
Inspired by Sam Shah’s post, here is a letter that I wrote to them as they move off into the world:
My Year 12 Chemistry students were testing for cations and anions the other day. Today they were applying some of what they had learnt to determine the identity of a set of unknown solutions (A – D).
They were told that their set contained four solutions – HCl, Na2CO3, Ca(NO3)2 and Pb(NO3)2 – but that they didn’t know which was which. Their task was to combine these four solutions in particular combinations to work out the identity of each one, using their previous results to guide them as to how to detect particular ions.
It went really well! The practical component was very straightforward to carry out but it was the interpretation of their results that required some really mental effort. Some really wrestled with it and eventually worked out which was which, whereas other groups didn’t quite get it finished in time before we had to come back to discuss it together. Here is one group’s whiteboard of their data and interpretation:
And here is one student’s creative solution to how to work on a whiteboard while standing around the same bench!