Class 7a and 7b Building a Lime Kiln

The current Main Lesson for these classes is Chemistry.

In teaching Science I use new techniques but base them on old wisdom. This combines kindling the sparks of the imagination, quieting the soul so inspiration can be heard and presenting intellectual material so that intuitive truths can be experienced. Most scientific discoveries occur not because someone witnesses a radically different physical phenomenon, but because someone notices something in a familiar phenomenon and then thinks about it in a new way.

We started the Main Lesson by investigating the first chemical transformative process – burning. After studying this process and making conclusions, we began to look at a modern process- with a long history, of heating lime (chalk). Quicklime is used in mortars, cements, iron and glass-making, and in neutralising acid soils

The students have very little opportunity to observe actual industrial processes. Almost everything comes magically ready‑made and packaged. Nevertheless, the lime cycle offers an opportunity for the students not only to observe an important industrial process, but to build and fire a kiln used in the process. The construction, loading and firing, experimenting with the quicklime, and disassembling of the kiln has been a four-day project.

Here are photos of the classes in the process of building the kiln. They also chopped wood to load into the charcoal burner which will provide the charcoal needed to make the process hot enough. The students appreciated the work it would have taken to make a house using wattle and daube, as well as having a deeper understanding of the processes involved in the lime cycle.


Rachel Gatehouse, Class Teacher