15th April 2016
Years 7 and 8 visited Plymouth University as part of British Science Week.
We started the day with a tour of the University site including student accommodation, followed by a lecture entitled “The Very Idea” by Professor John Spicer who talked about the nature of Science and his research on hibernation in sandhoppers. Our students responded really well with some thoughtful questions.
They then went on to engage in four different STEM (Science, Engineering, Maths and Technology) workshops which included Geohazards, where students worked as a crisis management team responding to what happened in a real life volcanic eruption. One team scored 95%, which really impressed the real geologists.
There was an Engineering based car kit workshop where students designed and built their own battery driven cars which they then raced. Another group engaged in a range of electrical and electronic challenges with Jermaine Garba impressing everyone by managing to freeze an electronic image on a CRO screen through fine-tuned adjustment of the controls. Next there was a visit to the Universities Electron Microscopy Unit where they are experimenting with substances like graphene which are single atom thick sheets and will undoubtedly have a range of applications in the future.
One group were fortunate enough to visit the Universities Planetarium which uses enormous computing power to project very high definition 3D images onto the dome. We were taken on a journey from earth, through our solar system calling in on the International Space Station then beyond to the further most reaches of the Milky Way, tracking the Voyager probes journey into interstellar space and finally journeying out beyond our galaxy to try and get a sense of the vastness of the Universe.
Students’ comments about the day included:
‘I learned that beach fleas pee out of their face and have 30 legs.’ Teague Bonar-Foster
‘The space room felt like it was REAL !!! ‘ Mya Finn
‘I learnt more about what Science really is about and that you can only disprove theories not prove them.’ Daniel Mountford
‘I enjoyed the workshops because they made it a competition to make the best car or best map. It was fun working as a team and it challenged us to work better together.’ Emilia Squires
‘Facts I learned – NASA is developing a powerful laser that can move asteroids to prevent them hitting the Earth.’ Ismaeil Soliman