Declan Fleming is an RSC School Teacher Fellow (at the University of Bath), a secondary chemistry teacher and freelance science communicator

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ASE Conference 2012

ASE Conference 2012

So this week was the ASE conference and I popped up after work on Friday to crash on the Saturday with my sights set on 3 main things. First and foremost I was there to harass and cajole people into getting involved with Decipher My Data: Flu – we’re only accepting registrations...
Manchester Science Festival 2011

Manchester Science Festival 2011

I was kindly invited up to MOSI over half term to do some chemistry busking on the Chemistry day of the Manchester Science Festival. The local RSC branch were there with students from Manchester led by Kat Presland, the Regional RSC Coordinator. If you’re a chemistry teacher and not sure...
Organic Mechanism Transition Resource

Organic Mechanism Transition Resource

What is this? This is an Open Educational Resource designed to summarise key concepts in organic mechanism that are required for entry to an undergraduate course. The resource is designed for first year undergraduates or able A-level students in mind and it revisits ideas from A-level. It also begins to...
Clouds Suck!

Clouds Suck!

Clouds Suck! is a talk I wrote to try to bring together two of the things I love most in life – flying and science. For years I’ve taught particles, changes of state and heat transfer through the context of gliding but I wanted a vehicle through which I could...
Latest entries

Burning Magnesium in Dry Ice

Link to article on EiC Introduction: Magnesium’s reaction with carbon dioxide is a dramatic and beautiful demonstration to show that oxygen isn’t always a prerequisite for fire and to reveal carbon’s place in the reactivity series. Kit: For preparation: Wood saw Chisel (or similar tool) For the experiment: 10kg dry ice block (available from cryogenic...
Dynamic Equilibrium Transition Resource

Dynamic Equilibrium Transition Resource

What is this? This is an Open Educational Resource designed to summarise key concepts in equilibrium that are required for entry to an undergraduate course. The resource is designed for first year undergraduates or able A-level students in mind and it revisits ideas from A-level. It also begins to show how they are applied early...
Gases in the Air Demo Lecture

Gases in the Air Demo Lecture

Gases in the Air This is the classic School Teacher Fellow demo lecture involving a lot of liquid nitrogen and dry ice! It focuses on changes of state, particles and physical vs. chemical changes. It can be delivered to a wide audience but is regularly delivered to primary audiences by myself and the outreach team...
Cracking Cold Light

Cracking Cold Light

Cracking Cold Light is a 50 minute workshop aimed at introducing the basics of rates of reaction and the scientific method through a chemiluminescence context. The workshop is delivered by a team of students from the University of Bath (usually led by me) and can be aimed at a KS2 or KS3 audience. Group sizes can be...
Ignite Bristol - Clouds Suck

Ignite Bristol – Clouds Suck

I’d had the idea for Clouds Suck going round in my head for some time – all I needed was the threat of standing up in front of hundreds of strangers to deliver some of it to give me the impetus to develop it further. And so it was that I found myself in front...
Discovery's Last Flight

Discovery’s Last Flight

Looking from Troopers Hill back towards the centre of town. This young couple were sat there and helpfully agreed to have me wave a bike light at them. They were totally indifferent to what I was doing, when I showed them the shot, the girl just said she needed to sort out her roots  Obviously...
Judging the NSEC at the Big Bang

Judging the NSEC at the Big Bang

Last week I had the honour of being asked to judge the Senior Chemistry section of the National Science and Engineering Competition at the Big Bang Fair in London. These 16-18 year old students (mostly towards the latter) were each presenting projects which, almost without exception, could easily have passed for first-class masters-level research and I’m not too proud...
ASE Conference 2011

ASE Conference 2011

Last week saw the ASE conference taking place at the University of Reading and some of the School Teacher Fellows decided to get together for a “Teacher Fellow Tag Team” demo event to kick off the International Year of Chemistry for the RSC. As we would be mostly talking to teachers, we wanted to use the opportunity to inspire...
Singing Science - I wish I had a smaller pKa

Singing Science – I wish I had a smaller pKa

I don’t take any credit for what follows (nor would I want to given the poor quality of the product) but I do often do songs with my classes at school and the kids video me anyway so I may as well try to do a slightly better job of it. I also promised (the significantly more...
What a Tweet!

What a Tweet!

Students entering university generally come from a background where they have been used to significantly smaller class sizes than they are exposed to in a lecture theatre. Here the learning process is more dynamic, and (certainly in my own lessons) has a lot in common with a guided discussion.One of the things I wanted to...
Catch them when they're young!

Catch them when they’re young!

I recently had the chance to accompany Alison Rivett and her team of demonstrators to one of the Primary Outreach Days offered by Bristol ChemLabs. The aim of these days is to “catch them young” and young they were! A wide-eyed bunch of 4-11 year olds from St. George’s Primary School on Brandon Hill in Bristol...
Have you done this week's "Pre-Lec"?

Have you done this week’s “Pre-Lec”?

When I studied at university I was acutely aware from speaking to my peers that our educational experiences were in many cases dramatically different. I remember cruising through lecture courses whilst my friends next to me would be sat there grinding their teeth in confused terror and I also remembered the moment I gave up on...