Stem Clubs Activities
28th June 2011
This term pupils from Year 7 and Year 9 are using textile and electronics resources to make pencil cases, iPod holders, purses and mobile phone cases using textiles with LEDs sewn into them. Conductive thread, LEDs, coin cell battery holders were purchased from Rapid Electronics (http://www.rapidonline.com/Educational-Products/Textiles/Textiles-Projects) and felt, zips, needles, thread, press-studs and decorative accessories from craft stores.
28th June 2011
Running alongside STEM Club is our K’NEX Construction Club, in which pupils develop their logic and problem-solving skills by building models using K’NEX construction kits. Pupils begin with small models until they are familiar with the pieces and techniques, then progress to more complex models, before finally tackling the larger ferris wheel and rollercoaster models as a team.
24th June 2011
A weekly after school STEM club which has this year seen the members continue to develop our high-pressure water rocket. We used a NASA simulator to help improve the aerodynamics of the nose cone, before applying and testing what we had learned. We have also improved the protection system that allows the rocket to carry an egg over 150 metres and land it unbroken. Full details of this year’s work remain classified as the rocket has not yet flown competitively. Further development will be done to try to reduce the overall mass of the EPS (egg protection system) by about 40g.
Other STEM activities have included making and testing fire extinguishers.
24th June 2011
A series of sessions in which students investigate various aspects of rockets.
Session 1 – Water bottle rockets.
An introduction to the basic physics of action-reaction and the forces involved in launching a rocket was followed by students investigating the effect of changing the volume of water on the height achieved by a water rocket. Students discussed the variables that should be controlled (pressure, height at launch, size of bottle to name a few) and how to measure the independent & dependent variables. They decided to measure water volume using a measuring cylinder and height reached by hanging a tape measure from the top floor window of the Science block. After several attempts it was clear that measuring height reached was going to be difficult: Firstly, the height of the rocket was difficult to measure accurately due to the fact that it went too high to see clearly. Not only that but two of the rockets actually cleared the building and landed on the roof. Cheers were heard as a member of the site staff was seen running across the roof to rescue them before students decided to measure the time the rocket spent in the air instead of height reached – this allowed them to launch further away from the building to prevent any further mishaps.
Students were eventually able to work out that there is an optimum volume of water that provides the greatest flight time – a balance between a high volume to give a longer time for the upthrust to provide lift and a low volume to reduce the weight of the bottle rocket. The optimum volume being around 200ml of water in a 2 litre bottle – leading to a height reached that must have been in excess of 20 metres.
Session 2 – Best angle for launch.
Students used both water rockets and stomp rockets to investigate the optimum launch angle to produce the furthest distance of travel. Most found the optimum to be 45 degrees. Be careful! to use stomp rockets only in VERY open spaces though – we lost another two to the roof. I suspect, however, that one actually cleared the building completely and left the school grounds. It has not been seen since.
21st June 2011
Out of a range of common everyday discarded waste items and some basic motors and pulley systems and propellers. Teams of students need to build a contraption that can transport a passesnger (egg) across a distance of 2 metres on land and 2 metres over water.
The qualifying criteria are for the vehicle to travel a maximum of 1cm/second over land.
21st June 2011
Using only POP bottles and a bicycle pump teams of students need to trasport a passenger (egg) the furthest distance without injuring the passenger (cracking the egg).
The students will first investigate the optimum: number of fins, mass and angle of launch before then finding a way to safely transport the egg.
20th June 2011
A whole sheeps fleece has been obtained from a local farmer.
Students will be processing it using traditional methods of washing, carding and spinning to produce yarn.
Students will also make natural dyes to colour the yarn from plants materials and mordants. Fabric samples will also be dyed to see how the colour differs depending on the fibres used.
20th June 2011
looking at forces/moments/levers as used in siege engines.
Exploring design, manufacturing and construction of scale models and prototypes.
Using a variety of materials and techniques including vector graphics, 2d design, cnc manufacuring, laser cutting.
13th June 2011
Year 9 students Lucy Robbins, Emily Lay, Holly Woodcock and Fran Roxburgh had the unique opportunity of spending a day exploring some fascinating scientific topics alongside girls from several other Gloucestershire schools in an event hosted at Cheltenham Ladies’ College and sponsored by L’Oréal. Activities ranged from practical workshop sessions to a series of talks highlighting the potential of utilising their scientific skills within careers from women from a variety of companies and institutes. A practical session lead by the team from the Young Scientist Centre at the Royal Institution involved the team designing a crumple zone for a car using a crash test rig. The “crash” was filmed using a high speed camera and then replayed so students could evaluate the effectiveness of their design. A second workshop session focused on DNA and involved trying to identify if HRH Prince Phillip was related to the Prussian Royal family. Fran Roxburgh said “It was a really good experience to see how all the elements of science can combine and fit into everyday life”. The excellent event was rounded off with each participant cheerfully receiving a large bag of L’Oréal freebies.
13th June 2011
Forty KS3 pupils attended an exciting trip to Cheltenham Festival of Science. The day began with a bang with an exciting “Life, Fire and Gas We Can’t See” presentation by chemist David Wharton, covering all the properties of various gases in the atmosphere. Next up was a robot building workshop run by Lego® Education. The challenge for the students was to detect the location of cracks in a long narrow pipe. This involved students constructing robots, programming them and then analysing the data the robots collected via data sensors as they travelled in and out of the tube. George Bridgwater, Ben Darwent and Will Burdett were the team coming up with the most accurate measurements. A well earned lunch was had in Imperial Gardens, with Theo Godfrey and Toby Abrey also completing the Discovery Trail. The BBC Science Zone was next on the agenda with Dr Yan from Bang Goes the Theory proving very popular with the autograph hunters! Final event of the day was the interactive Discovery Zone, with the students’ aim to complete as many as activities as possible, whilst claiming as many “freebies” as they could. Amongst the many activities to try, several students showed off their disco diva moves in The Dance Lab, generating some highly variable data which will be used in a national experiment. They also used their maths skills to decommission a nuclear reactor, looked at codes with GCHQ, investigated fermentation with the Society of Microbiology and constructed circuits with the Institute of Engineering & Technology. This was a really beneficial educational event that everyone involved thought was “fantastic”.
12th June 2011
The STEM club has entered a Young Engineers Challenge to build a method of transport capable of transporting a quails egg as far as possible. The aim is to include ‘biomimickery’ as part of the design, essentially copying ideas from nature. To begin with we looked at different birds and how they are shaped to glide, before building some miniature gliders, and looking at the factors that can be changed to effect the flight. The resulting videos show how well they did.
08th June 2011
The whole of year 8 took part in a STEM day, were the themes were:
“CSI Investigations”, “Sugar Structures” and “Let’s Get Smart”.
Pupils worked to make Lampshades, Mobile phone holders, Car window shades and Door Hangers; which encompassed Smart Materials including: Polymorphs, Thermo chromic & Phosphorescent pigments, Ultra Violet and Solar Active components and Micro-encapsulation.
In “Sugar Structures, pupils looked at molten sugar, liquid suspension, sugar as a stabilizer and structure strength.
A range of crime scenes were investigated including:
“The Mystery of the Bloodstain” – bodily fluids
“The Finger of Suspicion” – fingerprint analysis
“Under the Microscope” – animal fibres
“Watch your Step” – Shoe imprint analysis
and “The Fountain Pen Mystery”.
Our aim was to enhance our pupils’ understanding of Science & Technology in the real world; expose them to new and developing technological advances and to foster in our pupils a desire to explore and be creative.
Our guest speaker Kevin Burke – Regional Director for the Northwest and Northeast, wowed pupils with future possibilities and career aspirations. A good day was had by all and we are now making plans for a SPACE themed year seven day, to encompass cross-curricular links with all departments.