Report by Amelie Farrar:
On Thursday 21st September 2017, year 8 went to Ecton Hill. Ecton Hill is a 200 year old copper mine with a lot to offer. It has several different activities including; making and activating black powder, going into the mine itself, walking up Ecton Hill and extracting metals from rocks found on the hill side.
The first thing we did was the walk. It took us 1 hour to go all the way round the hill. We were given plastic containers and had to find as many rocks as we could. The colours we were looking for were green, orange and silver. I just found several of each! Then, once we’d got down the hill we had to try and extract the minerals from inside the rocks. We used a number of different chemicals and each one came up with a different result. In my rocks, I had lead and copper. It was really interesting!
Then we made the black powder. We used potassium nitride, charcoal and sulphur. We combined them all (75% potassium nitride, 15% charcoal and 10% sulphur) and it made the black powder! It was very interesting but it sort of stained my clothes!
We then went into the mine. We all had a helmet and a light. I didn’t realise how far we were going down until the man told us. We had lots of fun seeing the tractor and how the mine used to operate! The bet pit was when he poured some acid on to the rocks and it all started to fizz. For a moment I thought the mine was going to collapse but it was all over quite quickly.
The last thing we did before going back to school was exploding the black powder. It was fascinating seeing it actually go off!
Overall, my favourite part was making the black powder. It was interesting to see just how easy It is just to make it! Ecton Hill was definitely one of the best trips I’ve ever been on.