Academic Year 7

Year 7 students learn about crude oil, from its very beginnings to its current-day uses.

Mr George, Thornton’s new Head of Science, took Year 7s on a journey back in time, 400 million years ago give or take a few decades, to discover where on earth oil comes from and why it’s so important to us in the 21st century.

The great oceans of this world is where his story began. Freddy and his sea friends lived in the seas a very, very, very long time ago, happily swimming up and down, left and right, right and left, up and down. Tragedy struck one day, however, and the chums died and sank to the sea bed.

Over time, rock landed on top of Freddy, piling up deeper and deeper until, about 200 million years ago, the fish turned into a liquid goo called crude oil which built up between porous and non-porous rock. Today, we drill for this oil and use it to power vehicles and keep us warm.

With the background covered, Mr George went on to explain how oil in its basic form has to be processed to be of use. He talked the girls through the definitions of key words related to the topic such as flammable and renewable. The class then carried out an experiment to see how the different substances (hydrocarbons) in the crude oil are separated by heating up the oil to boiling point, watching it turn into a gas vapour, and passing it through a condenser. It was then time to burn it.


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