has been running this competition for the fourth year, and it has already
become a tradition. Despite the Covid-19 restrictions, we had attracted 12
teams, each having three members, from 11 schools this year,” Piotr Kearney, Spolana’s Executive Director, summarises the contest optimistically. Three teams advanced to the final
round held at Gymnázium Václava
Třebízského in Slaný. “Chemistry is an important discipline, yet it can also
be exciting and a lot of fun. Therefore, we hope we can get children
enthusiastic about this field. Of course, we would be happy if some of the
contestants once become students at our school,” says Milan Dundr, principal
of the upper-secondary school in Slaný.
The winning team, Trojka, came from the
Third Primary School in Neratovice. Its members received tablets and other prizes.
Their school received an award, too, a gift voucher for chemical lab equipment
worth CZK 10,000. “This competition is a lot of fun, but it is also
didactic. We already have plans to enter the fifth year next year. We will use
the money to buy chemical lab equipment, especially didactic aids that will
help children better grasp the chemistry syllabus,” says Irena Škantová,
a teacher of the triumphant team from Neratovice.
The first assignment of the final competition
involved a quiz with 17 questions across the entire chemistry spectrum. It also
included object demonstrations, i.e., plays with liquid nitrogen, a magnet, which
fell through a frozen copper pipe at -196 degrees Celsius, and with paper ships
and sodium. “The children were also to determine properties (e.g.
flammability, evaporation, oxidation ability, …) of unknown hazardous
substances by using the SOUL method,” comments Tomáš Holec, Head of the
Citizen Protection and Crisis Management Department of the Fire Rescue Service of
the Central Bohemian Region. The students also had to pass practical tests
in the Slaný school laboratory: coating a metal strip with zinc, annealing when
an alloy (brass) was supposed to emerge on the strip’s surface. Besides, the
students had to explain all these phenomena.
The first online round was launched in April 2021.
The attending teams were tasked to carry out an assigned chemical experiment
with electrolysis. First, they had to determine the nature of blue vitriol (copper(II)
sulphate pentahydrate) in the experiment. They recorded their results and
uploaded their video recording on the competition’s website. Also, they
completed a knowledge test, all of this in 30 days. The three best teams
advanced to the second final round held on 17 June. The final assignments
focused on quick-wittedness and general knowledge of chemistry and safety when
handling chemical substances. They also involved chemical experiments in the
lab. For more information, go to www.vyzvaprochemika.cz.
SPOLANA a.s. is one of the largest
chemical manufacturing companies in the Czech Republic. The only manufacturer
of PVC and caprolactam also produces ammonium sulphate and sulphuric acid. It
currently employs over 700 people. Spolana has been owned by ORLEN Unipetrol
since 2016. The ORLEN Unipetrol Group is the largest refining and petrochemical
company in the Czech Republic. It focuses on crude oil processing and
production, distribution and sale of fuels and petrochemical products – mainly
plastics and fertilisers. It is one of the major players in the Czech and
Central European markets in all these areas. The ORLEN Unipetrol group includes
refineries and production plants in Litvínov and Kralupy nad Vltavou, Paramo
with the Mogul brand in Pardubice and Kolín, the Spolana company in Neratovice,
and two research centres in Litvínov and Brno. ORLEN Unipetrol also includes
the ORLEN Benzina petrol station network in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
With 420 outlets, Benzina ORLEN is the largest chain in the Czech
Republic. With 20 sites in Slovakia, it is the fastest-growing network since
2019. ORLEN Unipetrol is one of the largest
companies in the Czech Republic in terms of turnover. In 2019, it earned CZK
129 billion and employed more than 4,800 people. In addition to its business
development, ORLEN Unipetrol is proud to be a socially responsible corporation.
Therefore, it pays an equal amount of attention to initiatives, focusing on the
cultivation and support of sustainable development, education, local
communities, and the environment. In 2005, ORLEN Unipetrol became part of the PKN Orlen Group, the largest
oil processor in Central Europe.
Pavel Kaidl, spokesperson, telephone: +420 736 502 520, e-mail: email@example.com