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Field trip to University of Tartu


On December 7th, DP1 and DP2 students went on a field trip to University of Tartu. The bus on the way there was a little bit cold but that’s understandable with the freezing temperatures and Estonian climate. But regardless of the weather, everybody was excited for the University. Once they arrived, they were greeted kindly with lab coats and hand sanitizer. The students who weren’t taking chemistry weren’t as excited as the students that were, but that quickly changed when they were shown what we’re actually going to be doing first – their own Christmas sparklers.

The students were given an introduction as to what they need for sparklers. When they first started making them, they were given a premade paste to apply to the metal rods just to get a hang of the general process of applying paste, drying the paste so it wouldn’t drip and then hang the sparklers for them to fully solidify and be ready for use. After this first procedure, the students were given different components of the paste and a paper instruction guide on how much of each component needs to be added to the mix. These needed to be very precise and so it took everyone quite a few tries before they actually got it right, but eventually, everybody managed. The procedure continued as the first one – apply the created paste onto the metal rods, dry it a little bit and hang it to solidify.

As their sparklers were drying, the students started off with their next experiment. They were given a glass ornament and their mission was to submerge it into a glass full of liquid and make the ornament invisible. They had three options of liquids – water, syrup and oil. In order to find out which one was going to hide the ornament best without putting it into the liquids first, the students had to find out the light refraction index of each liquid. They were shown how to do this by pointing a laser at the glass and measuring the different angles at which the light comes out at the other side. They were also given the light refraction index of the glass ornament. So whichever index of the liquids was closest to the one of the ornament was also the one that was going to hide it best.

This was a fun experiment, especially because they got to fool around with laser pointers. The students all managed and got fairly accurate results. The oil ended up having the most similar light refraction index to the ornament. They got to test this out by submerging the ornament into the oil and the second they did – it was practically invisible. If you looked at just the right angle, you could barely see it, but it was practically invisible.

The final event that the students, themselves, took part in, was a Christmas quiz. Surprisingly enough this was the most difficult task (to those that didn’t google it), even more difficult than measuring angles and calculating light refraction indexes! After all of these experiments, the top three pairs in terms of accuracy of each experiment got prizes, such as chocolate, candy or candles. Those that didn’t win any prizes were satisfied either way because it was a very enjoyable experience for everyone.

After this, The students put their lab coats away and went into a lecture hall, where they were given a „show” of different experiments ranging from colourful smoke to extremely bright, almost blinding lights of all different colours. This was by far the most entertaining part of the whole day for most of the students.

All of these wonderful experiences had now come to an end. Somebody started a snowball fight, with snowballs being thrown everywhere and constantly, during the entire walk back to the bus which was an experience itself. Everybody settled into the bus, this time, it wasn’t cold at all. Even though it was a very nice experience, most people were tired from the long day and so they either dozed off or quietly listened to music on their own on the way back to Tallinn.