Saturday, 12 May 2012

Woluwe at TOTB Final

RSC Belgium was represented at the RSC's Top of the Bench (TOTB) final on 31 March by European School Brussels II at Woluwe (see team photo below). The winners of our own 'national' competition and holders of the Keith Price Cup had a great time at Imperial College London and secured an excellent 'mid-table' result.

"The team came 15th out of around 30 competing schools," reported Julie Deegan, the team's teacher and head of chemistry at Woluwe. "The higher placed teams were all prestigious UK grammar or private schools."

In the highly competitive final each student had to sit an individual written test designed by the RSC and together each team carried out two practical activities: one set by RSC and the other by Imperial College staff.

"The students thought the written test was very traditional and GCSE-like," says Julie. "Questions about the Haber and Contact process, and others about recalling the chemical symbols for less well-known elements were not so popular with our students!"

Practical posers
This year's RSC Belgium eliminator had, for the first time, included a practical element, so the problem-solving laboratory element of the final was not a surprise to the Woluwe team. "The practical task was in two parts," continues Julie. "The first to identify three unknown liquids or solutions using no additional reagents. The second part was a titration, for which the older students had to take a leading role."

The TOTB Final practical session in full swing (image copyright © michele panzeri 2012).

Chemistry Challenge
The next major schools' activity for RSC Belgium is about to commence: the Chemistry Challenge. The papers are being printed for distribution to participating schools. This individual chemistry puzzler is open to 16-17 year old students and we hope to involve well over 100 students in this year's competition.

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