LAS Journal

Cracking Hydrocarbons: Combining Theory with Experiments

At LAS, we offer a differentiated educational program that meets students’ needs and supports them as they realize their academic potential and develop into lifelong learners. Encouraging our students to be curious and challenge themselves creates high-achieving individuals with a thirst for knowledge, which is why at LAS, we offer students a variety of opportunities to gain hands-on experience and broaden their interests.

This week in integrated laboratory science 2, grade 10 students have been studying organic chemistry and have learned about the abundance of alkenes and alkanes in crude oil and their demand within society. Learning about academic topics through real-life applications is a common practice at LAS, as it encourages students to link their studies with the world around them and find greater value in the knowledge they attain in class.

With the support of our experienced teachers, these two grade 10 students conducted an experiment which would normally be conducted by grade 12 students, being challenged far above what they are expected to do at their age. These students conducted a paraffin cracking experiment whereby they broke the long-chain hydrocarbon to produce shorter-chain alkanes and alkenes, substances that are of higher demand in society. The gases were then tested to check the results were as expected. 

Following this, the next lesson detailed the production of ethanol. Students in this class debated the choices that countries like Brazil make to crack long-chain hydrocarbons from crude oil versus the more renewable option of fermenting sugar cane. This discussion was very insightful and demonstrated to students that topics like these are often gray areas. (there are lots of downsides of using sugar cane, it's a leading cause of deforestation of the amazon and paraffin is currently in very low demand so can be wasted, can we change the language to be less biased in this sentence?)

Well done to the grade 10 students that participated in this experiment; we are so impressed by your high-level knowledge and scientific curiosity! At LAS, combining hands-on experience with theoretical knowledge allows students to understand the content of their courses and how this can apply to the world around them. In doing so, we develop lifelong learners that are innovative, compassionate, and responsible citizens of the world.


Where next?