Our aim in this competition is to develop a programme of space themed activities for the Science Club. The theme is “Journey to Mars”, and we will include aspects of the sciences, engineering, horticulture and food technology. The theme is going to run for the whole year, and some of the sixth form are going to take the resources and run their own club for Years 5 and 6 at Llanfair Primary School. They need to spend 30 hours planning and delivering community service as part of their Welsh Baccalaureate. Working with the primary school will give them the chance to fulfil this, along with developing valuable transition links between the two schools.
We plan for our competition entry to be a sustainable project, with students in future years continuing the links with the primary school and encouraging an interest in STEM subjects that will begin at an at primary and stay with the pupils as they move through high school. Having the support of Rolls-Royce this year will be very invaluable in making sure that, through participating in this competition, our pupils increase their “Science Capital” and are given the chance to see what opportunities there are in STEM based careers. To further this throughout the year we hope to invite external STEM providers to the school. We have already booked Techniquest Glyndwr to visit in November to run a space themed day for pupils in year 5, 6 and 7, and hope to invite more visitors during the year.
- Eluned Downes – Team member, Bursar
The table below shows our complete expenditure for the first term. It includes the deposit for the Weather Balloon launch. This will be an exciting activity to which we are hoping to invite primary school pupils. The topic has also been opened to all subjects within the school.
- Ffion Morgan – Team member, Welsh Baccalaureate coordinator for the Sixth Form
. The sixth formers have continued to run their science club for the primary school, presenting to the Years 3 and 4, and 5 and 6 on alternative weeks. They have been developing the rocket theme, and this should have led to a final launch day this week but it has been postponed until after Christmas because of adverse weather. On the day of the Techniquest visit they worked with the groups, guiding the various classes and assisting at the workshops.
- Tudor Jones – Team member, Science teacher
Science club has continued with the rocket theme and pupils have developed and tested various prototypes. In the run up to Christmas they have been making bath bombs, an activity that was very popular and gave them the opportunity to see how STEM subjects are relevant to product development.
- Matt Palmer – Team member, Head of Science
On the 27 November we welcomed Neil Chattle our Rolls-Royce Science Prize mentor to the school.
Year 8 with Mr Neil Chattle from Rolls-Royce investigating jet engines
He delivered an assembly to students in years 10 and 11 about the Rolls Royce competition and the work that Rolls-Royce do. Neil also spent time with the 6th form students talking about career paths into the engineering industry. He explained the advantages of apprentice schemes and the university routes into Rolls-Royce. Later in the day the year 8 students had a chance to build a model jet engine and learned the importance of teamwork, listening skills, problem solving and understanding instructions. The staff also spent time with Neil to explore the project, the prizes available and the route to the awards.
- A word from the Head Teacher, Miss Iona Davies
The Techinquest visit was a valuable opportunity to further promote Science amongst primary school pupils and to build on the work done by our sixth form Science ambassadors. As a school we were glad to welcome prospective pupils. The enthusiasm of the primary school pupils augurs well for the future – I am confident that they will become confident and competent scientists, maintaining their positive attitude towards the subject.
Note from the team leader
We would like to thank Iona, our headteacher for her support in the development of our project, and we wish her well as she moves on to her new post.
- Vickie Faulkner – Science Technician, team leader for the project.
This month we were able to expand our space theme to all our Year 7, and Year 5/6 from Llanfair Primary School by hosting workshops run by Techniquest Glyndwr who visited us on November 21.
We were able to offer three activities for all the pupils.
The Stardome: An inflatable planetarium. Pupils had the opportunity to take a virtual guided tour of the solar system.
“Mars mission madness”: A workshop that challenged the pupils to make a craft that would safely land on Mars. The workshop encouraged the pupils to use their communication and design skills as they worked in small groups to develop and test a landing craft, using materials of their choice. There was lots of enthusiasm and fun as they built their craft and tested it using raw eggs as their precious cargo. Although there were a few cracks, there was surprisingly little raw egg carnage, a tribute to the well thought out designs by the students.
Destination space: Pupils found out about what it was like to go into space and the related challenges such as the forces that were involved in sending a rocket, what effect space has on the body and how to survive in space. The workshop was linked to Tim Peake’s trip to the International Space Station, the topic led to lively questions and discussions as the pupils were fascinated by what effect space had on the human body. There were some very exciting demonstrations including the methylated spirit rocket, and they had the opportunity to work in groups to investigate the water absorbing qualities of various materials, linked to understanding how water is purified for reuse in space.
I have met with a representative from ERW this month. ERW is an alliance of six Welsh local authorities who deliver school improvement. We discussed how the competition fits in with the new curriculum, and how we would develop the weather balloon project using Donaldson principles.
It has been decided to arrange a meeting with the school’s Heads of Department to see how the project could move outside the science department and include the whole school.
- Eluned Downes – Team member, Bursar
We have booked a company to launch a weather balloon next term, and now we are starting to look at the logistics for this event. We would like to involve our cluster of primary schools, to do this we need to make a whole day of the event with other activities. There is also the question of transport to consider.
Costs to date:
Gratnells rover trolley (Amazon) for transporting equipment to the primary school £136.30, delivery (Amazon) £3.75, Altimeter for rocket investigation £18.00, 35GB SD card for supporting taking photographs and video for the competition £18.00. Total remaining: £5119.50
- Note from team leader.
I attended the session just to observe and offer moral support. The boys coped very well with an enthusiastic group! The primary school children were engaged and eager to contribute, they loved the inflatable planets. The session will be repeated next week for a second group, as so many had signed up to attend!
- Jane Peate – Team member, Headteacher at Ysgol Gynradd Llanfair Caereinion Primary School
Four high school pupils visited school before half term and introduced themselves to the junior classes. They explained that they were going to be running a lunch time science club in school. Many pupils were very enthusiastic and were eager to attend. A poster was placed in the school corridor for pupils to write their names if they were interested in attending. 44 pupils placed their names on the list to attend. The high school pupils also produced a letter to inform parents of the new club.
The first session of the science club was held on Tuesday, November the 13th. The club was well attended. Unfortunately I was not present for the first club meeting as I was taking pupils to a swimming gala.
- 6th Form Presenters
“Firstly we met with the head teacher to discuss and organise a set of dates that worked for both parties. Then when the first session came about we went down to set up the starting activity. This involved pumping up inflatable planets to use as physical learning assistants to help with visualisation of the planets. Then we split up the pupils into groups and quizzed them on the planets they had been given and taught them about the planets once they had said all they knew. Lastly we prepared paper rockets, which we will use next session by shooting them using straws. We made them think about their design choices by asking several questions for them to think about while they construct the rockets. Those who didn’t finish the task due to time constraints will have an opportunity at the next session we have planned for that group.”