St Joseph’s students compete in state chemistry competition

Three teams from St Joseph’s School competed in the annual Titration Stakes held at Curtin University at the end of second term.

This competition is run by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) and coordinated by the Science Teachers Association of Western Australia (STAWA) and has been occurring every year for over 30 years.

The event is designed for senior secondary chemistry students working in groups of three testing their chemical analytical skills through a series of quantitative experiments analysing unknown concentrations of three acid solutions with the most precise teams being awarded the highest places.

This year there were 77 teams from over 30 schools in attendance.

All three teams from St Joseph’s School performed exceptionally well, with a highlight being the Year 12 team with Belinda Johnson, Jayde Williams and Lewis Good.

This team finished in 14th place and will now proceed from the state round to the national round of this event, which will be occurring at Murdoch University in August.

Belinda Johnson said the titration stakes gave her an opportunity to practice concepts learnt in class in a university setting.

“It was a fun night and I’m looking forward to the nationals,” Miss Johnson said.

Lewis Good all St Joseph’s School teams demonstrated strong teamwork.

“We have been doing titrations as a part of our Chemistry and Science classes for three years now, which I believe reflects in our strong placing, enabling all of this background to be consolidated in this year’s result,” he said.

Jayde Williams said she is also looking forward to the next level of competition.

”It was a really good night, especially after competing for so many years and in our final year of school to achieve this strong position,” Mr Williams said.

The Year 11 team with Presit Kaur, Elijah May and Jayden Ellery finished in 23rd position and the Year 10 team with Audrey Carroll, Isabelle Ochtman and Miri Stewart, in their first year in the event finished in 45th position, both very respectable positions.

The students develop these skills through a series of investigations, refining and improving their techniques on each occasion.

For the Year 11 and 12 students these techniques form a part of their Chemistry course work, consolidating understanding of acids and bases and using their skills in a series of investigations identifying the concentration of vinegar or orange juice.

For the year 10 students it was their first opportunity at utilising analytical equipment to obtain results down to below a tenth of a millilitre.

“Being able to compete in an event like the Titration Stakes enables the students to maximise their scientific accuracy and be able to compare their ability and precision to students in other schools from all over WA, which is very beneficial, especially from a small regional school and very affirming when the results at all secondary year levels are very positive,” said Mark Gargano, St Joseph’s School Year 7-12 curriculum coordinator and chemistry teacher.

In addition to continuing with their coursework for their final term of school, the Year 12 students will be practising further techniques in the next few weeks to maximise their performance in the National Titration Stakes.