Ysgol Uwchradd Caereinion High School

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As we prepare for the Easter break, I can reflect on a short but very busy month. Our sixth form leaders are now preparing for exams and have run their last science club at the primary school. I would like to thank them for all their work and enthusiasm, I have seen the pupils totally engaged by the club and the sixth formers grow as leaders. The club will continue next term with High School staff running it, I don’t think the primary school pupils would let us stop now! Once more we were delighted to welcome Mr Neil Chattle from Rolls-Royce to the school. During a busy day he led two bloodhound workshops, introduced pupils to a Rolls-Royce jet engine via a VR headset and worked with the Year 5&6 primary class, looking at jet engines and using the models. We are very grateful to have this contact with the Industry, it is vitally important in increasing the Science Capital of our pupils

6th former wearing VR Headset
Learners inspect Rocket Engine

On Friday 5 April we were finally able to host the launch of the weather balloon, after a long wait for favorable conditions. This was facilitated by Sent into Space’s Classtronauts program. High school pupils had a presentation by the company, and the opportunity to find out more during Q&A sessions in the classrooms. These were very much enjoyed, the pupils were very engaged with the topic, asking a wide range of questions. Children from Llanfair Primary school, years 4,5 and 6 also attended a presentation at which they had the opportunity to ask questions, and then enjoyed a variety of space themed workshops run by the High School staff. These included a payload landing workshop, in which they designed and built a safe capsule for a payload. Other pupils investigated pressure by making cartesian divers. We had hoped to run orienteering, to demonstrate how the balloon’s payload was found by using coordinates, but the snow of the day before made the ground unsuitable. Instead the primary school pupils had the opportunity to use microscopes, an activity that was much enjoyed. Just before midday the two schools assembled outside to watch the balloon being inflated and help count down for the launch.

Weather Balloon launch
Weather balloon sky high

A live feed meant that the pupils could continue to follow the balloon’s progresss it ascended, and it was put up on the screen in the foyer so it could be followed during the lunch break. It was fascinating to see how the balloon changed direction as it came under the influence of the winds at different altitudes, first travelling north, then looping south until after two hours the payload, travelling north once more, finally descended, touching down just east of Chirk on the Welsh border.

The follow Monday we were sent the data from the launch, and a link to the video of the ascent. It is fantastic to see Mr Urdd leaving the school behind and ascending through the layers of cloud until he finally comes out to the edge of space, reaching an altitude of 34600.8 M.

Mr Urdd (the mascot of the Urdd Eisteddfod) was drawn by Mari Philips from Llanfair Primary School. \

This month I was invited to Welshpool Cubs, to help them with their space badge. This invitation came as a result of the local publicity about the Rolls-Royce Science Prize, and it was great to see our project leading to this outreach within the community.

During the visit they looked at the solar system using the inflatable planets and the Skyview app on the IPads. The Cubs went on to find out how they could observe the sun safely, this was developed by constructing and using a pinhole camera.  The evening ended by investigating why the moon is covered in craters, the Cubs tried making their own craters using a tray of cocoa powder and flour. 00010

Cub Scouts using iPads to see the stars