First day at school

2m spray painted signs

This week I went back into school for the day. It was very weird to be back after 107 days without being inside the building. Yes, you read that right, 107 days defeating Phineas and Ferb record of ‘104 days of summer vacation and school comes along just to end it …’.

When I arrived at school, there was a strict layout in place and so we entered through the main school gate. We were always 2 metres apart and even got to wear our own home clothes! On top of that, it was a late morning start at 9:30 am compared to the usual 8:30 am start.

Kahoot winner

For the first half of the day we did some well being activities discussing how working at home has been going and how it differs from being at school. We had a one-on-one with our form tutors and also did a kahoot about lock down news (where I placed first). The second part was creating SMART targets within each of our subjects.

Some signs placed around school

For lunch, we were able to sit outside in our bubble and caught up over the past 3 months.

For the second half of the day we completed some UCAS work. We also discussed what we needed to do over the summer holidays such as writing our personal statements and researching universities as well as different courses. During this I also had a quick EPQ meeting with my supervisor. This led to the end of the day where we used the one way system to leave school.

Sitting outside at lunch

Our classrooms were set up with desks being 2m apart as well as only having a small number of students (I had 7 other people in my bubble). Overall, the day was very useful allthough it was very weird being back at school again after so many months of learning from home.

84 days since school…

So, today marks 84 days since I last was at school. I have been ‘home schooling’ myself since being set work online as well as competing various assessments. Since this, I have been reading lots of books as well as binging Netflix a lot. I have also been catching up on a few of my TV shows and am very happy as I’ve got the crossover I’ve been waiting for on DVD – Crisis on Infinite Earth’s (I am an avid fan of the Flash). – 84

How to prepare cyclohexane.

A while back in A level Chemistry we have been completing a practical on preparing a cyclohexane. Today’s blog post I will show the practical instructions with photos of our set ups and final product. This is to celebrate the ending of British Science Week 2020!

Part 1: preparation

Distillation apparatus
  1. Add 10cm3 of cyclohexane to a small round bottom or pear-shaped flask (CARE: don’t get it on your skin. Don’t inhale it. Keep away from naked flame.)
  2. Slowly add 4cm3 of concentrated phosphoric(v) acid and mix thoroughly (CARE: don’t get it on your skin. Mix slowly to prevent it getting too hot due to it being an exothermic reaction.)
  3. Add a few anti-bumping granules to the mixture, then set up the apparatus for reflux alongside an electric heater or sand bath (CARE: avoid splashing when adding granules.)
  4. Heat the mixture under reflux at 70oc for 15 minutes, adjust the heating and cooling rates to ensure that all condensation occurs in the lower half of the condenser (CARE: avoid water contact with electricity.)
  5. Stop heating and allow the glassware to cool for a few minutes (CARE: don’t touch the hot glass whilst it cools.)
  6. Rearrange the apparatus for distillation
  7. Raise the temperature and distil very slowly, collecting the distillate which comes over between 70oc and 90oc (CARE: don’t raise the temperature too fast. Don’t touch any apparatus which is hot.)

Part 2: purification

The pure cyclohexene we made
  1. Add an equal volume of saturated sodium chloride solution to the distillate in a separating funnel, shake gently and release any pressure build-up (CARE: avoid pressure build up and hence an explosion.)
  2. Allow the layers to separate and then discard the lower aqueous layer
  3. Wash the organic layer with an equal volume of water and discard the lower aqueous layer
  4. Run the remaining organic layer into a small conical flask
  5. Add a few lumps of anhydrous calcium chloride and swirl the mixture – if the liquid does not become clear, add more anhydrous calcium chloride and swirl again (CARE: avoid skin contact.)
  6. Finally decant the clear liquid into a weight container (CARE: avoid skin contact.)
  7. Reweigh the container and find the mass of cyclohexane that you have prepared (CARE: avoid skin contact.)
Using Bromine water to confirm that the product was an alkene as the bromine water should turn form orange to colourless when an alkene is present.

Part 3: organic functional group identification

  1. Test for the presence of carbon-carbon double bond in the product

A very busy half term

This past week, I’ve been busy with my half term. From completing homework, to watching some new Netflix shows as well as meeting up with a few of my friends. Last Saturday, I went for a meal with a few of my friends which became eventful as we forgot to check if the 40% off voucher was valid on a Saturday. On the Monday, I met with a few of my friends who had moved to different schools for sixth form. it was lovely to catch up over coffee. On Wednesday, I went to a swimming pool with water slides but my friends and I were sad as the wave machine was not working.

On Friday, I met with some more of my friends who had moved schools and we went bouldering before heading to the Cathedral to see the light show display. In the evening I went to my friends Birthday Party and met many new people. On Saturday evening, I met with another friend from school over coffee to catch up.

Finally, today has been an inset day so I’ve had the chance to finish my homework and prepare for school tomorrow. A recent series I have been watching is Locke and Key as well as The Stranger. I also watched the movie Midnight Sun. Overall, I have had a good half term and am ready to get back to school as I am now officially half way into year 12.

Don’t loose your USB Stick …

I am still in the midst of writing my blog post around the camp I went on a few weekends ago . For now I will be explaining why not to loose your USB stick before I will be back on rewriting my coursework.

Don’t loose you USB stick if it contains all your coursework – you are going to have to recomplete it.

Don’t loose your USB stick if it’s not backed up anywhere – just makes sure you back it up.

Don’t loose you USB stick if you don’t know where you have lost it – if your are here there and everywhere I wouldn’t recommend where to start looking for it.

Don’t loose your USB stick if you take computer science as a GCSE – especially because you learn about the disadvantages to solid-state storage (USBs) including the fact that they can be lost easily.

Don’t loose your USB stick if you are prone to loosing stuff in general – self-explanatory.