The Science department recently celebrated National Science and Engineering Week in the school, which ran from 15th-24th March. A number of events were organised and large numbers of pupils participated. The theme of the week was ‘Invention and Discovery’ and each subject department organised a lunchtime event in which year 8 pupils attended.
On Tuesday 19th March, the Biology department hosted ‘The Genius of Genes’. Students investigated DNA and made a double helix out of marshmallows and other sweets. On Wednesday 20th March, the Chemistry department hosted ‘Fantastic Plastics’, during which students observed the nylon rope trick and got to make slime. Finally, on Thursday 21st March, the Physics department hosted ‘Scrapheap Challenge’ and students were tasked with making an electromagnet in order to lift the highest number of paperclips. One year 8 student, Paul Wharry, 8M, gave his thoughts on the activities:
“Tuesday was Biology day. At lunch time we made spiral shape DNA using two pieces of wire, gummy bears and marshmallows. Everyone found this a really fun learning activity. We understood the concepts as we made it from everyday things. On Wednesday it was Chemistry day – ‘goo day!’. We had PVA glue and added a chemical and food colouring and ended up with slime. Again we really enjoyed this and it was of the few times that we were allowed to ‘mess safely’ with chemicals in the lab! Thursday was Physics day and we spent lunch time making a magnet. We made coils and connected it to the voltmeter by using crocodile clips and the circuit was complete. We then successfully attracted the wire paper clips. Personally I found the three days very interesting and it gave us a taste for Science over the next few years in the school.”
School staff also took part in an element quiz which ran for the duration of the week. Students completed a quiz with cryptic clues, the answers to which were chemical elements. They then had to find the teacher with the chemical symbol of that element on their sticker. There were two winners: Alexandra Rosbotham in year 8 and Aimee McIlwaine in year 13.
The recycling bus from Larne Borough Council also visited the school and took groups of year 9 pupils for sessions around the theme of ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’. This tied in with a recent topic that year 9 students completed. All in all it was an enjoyable week for staff and students alike!