Nottingham Potential Summer School 2021

30 Jul 2021

As a part of their training, second year CDT students work with the University of Nottingham Widening Participation Team and contribute to Nottingham Potential Summer School. The aim of the school has traditionally been to welcome a number of A-level students from widening participation schools to the campus to learn and to experience a taste of student life. The CDT students have contributed to this event every year since 2016 and this is the second year that the event took place online. The CDT students develop teaching resources and plans and deliver activities at the Green Chemistry Summer School.

Below is the statement from Amy Johnson 

Earlier this summer students in Cohort 6 of the CDT in Sustainable Chemistry took part in organising sessions for the chemistry stream of The University of Nottingham Summer School, a university wide programme run for Year 12 students. Unfortunately, due to the uncertainties around the COVID-19 situation, the summer school could not be run face to face this year. However, the organising team put on a great online provision with a combination of pre-recorded and live zoom sessions. Small groups of CDT students worked together on adapting, creating and delivering short sessions to the students over the course of the week in July.

Jenifer Coughlan, Jessica Streets and I delivered the first session of the week on the Monday afternoon to a group of enthusiastic students excited for their week ahead. Our session was broadly based around the chemistry of biofuels, and further to this we also introduced ideas of the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry and the Circular Economy. Firstly, students watched a pre-recorded lecture, and we then ran a live session though the platform Menti which included a really engaging discussion about the pros and cons of different fuelling options for cars, and then a great Q & A session on sustainability more broadly. There were around 30 students on the call and the word cloud below on the question ‘What does sustainability mean to you?’ came out of the session, showing the engagement and ideas of the students.


The other groups from our Cohort gave sessions on topics including batteries and renewable feedstocks, really highlighting the scope of the research being carried out within the CDT and sustainable chemistry more broadly.

For myself, the most interesting part of taking part in the summer school was tackling the breadth of questions the students in our session asked, really challenging me to think more broadly about sustainability and topics of research. It was certainly a valuable activity to consider how to pitch and deliver topics for students just starting out in their A-levels and reflect on what might interest them as they choose what they may like to study in the future.