Rad Reactions: TWU’s First Chemistry Games

Students Steven Manku and Alysha Morden from MJ Mouat Secondary in Abbotsford perform an experiment at Trinity Western University during the first Chemistry Games.

A young goggled scientist peers cautiously into a beaker and watches the combined chemicals react. What could be a scene from a university laboratory is actually the first ever Chemistry Games for high school students taking place at Trinity Western University.

The games, sponsored by TWU and National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) invited high school students from the area to compete in chemistry experiments and tests. Aiming to promote science in the community and interest in science among high school students, the event marked the beginning of National Chemistry Week.  

Ten teams of students from six area high schools attended: Walnut Grove, Mountain Secondary, Credo Christian, Abbotsford Secondary, MJ Mouat Secondary, Yale Secondary, and MEI.

Throughout The Games teams had to complete two complex experiments and one written test. The experiments were then judged on accuracy and purity, and then tallied together with the written test results. The results were first, second and third place winners. Teams from MJ Mouat, Mountain, and Yale secondary schools won the gold, silver and bronze respectively, and all participating schools received a plaque for their involvement in the Chemistry Games.

 “I was quite impressed by their skill in the lab and how they performed on the written test,” says TWU Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry Craig Montgomery, who helped plan and run the event.  “The experiments the students conducted, such as making aspirin and determining the amount of hypochlorite in bleach, are at least the level of a first year university course, and the high school students rose to the challenge.”

This was the first year TWU offered the Chemistry Games and Montgomery looks forward to making it a annual event. “I had one high school teacher give me feedback after the event saying ‘my students came into class today still very excited – they had a blast!’ so I’m hoping the Chemistry Games will really spark an interest in Chemistry among high school students.”  

Trinity Western University, in Langley, B.C., is a provincially chartered, independent Christian liberal arts and sciences university, enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers 42 undergraduate majors, ranging from biotechnology, education, theatre and music, to psychology, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 16 graduate degree programs include nursing, counseling psychology, business, theology, linguistics, and leadership, and interdisciplinary degrees in English, philosophy and history. TWU holds Canada Research Chairs in Dead Sea Scroll Studies, Developmental Genetics and Disease, and Interpretation, Religion & Culture.

Last Updated: 2009-11-03
Author: Elisabeth Fallon