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Stem Clubs Activities

Animal Anatomy

10th January 2012

Sessions 1 & 2

Students dissected some double injected preserved rats. The rats were injected with red latex into arteries and blue latex into veins. Students first watched a presentation to show them how to complete the dissection before sharing a rat between groups of 2 or 3. Students were able to observe the internal anatomy and identified all of the major internal organs. They were also able to measure aspects such as the length of the intestines (up to a metre long) and compare the contents of the stomach with the contents of the large intestine. Some students completely skinned their rat and are looking into ways of preserving the skin, while others were attempting to remove and observe the structure of the brain.

All students are making a video diary of their work.


PIC Building and Programming

05th January 2012

Pupils are getting an introduction to building with IC using the Genie-08 board. Pupils are beginning to build the boards and solder the components. We hope to begin programming soon!!!


Ready Steady Christmas Bake Challenge

22nd December 2011

In this STEM activity students were challenged to make Christmas themed ginger biscuits within 30 minutes. The ingredients was supplied by the Food Teacher – Mr Humphries.

Students rose to the occasion and produced some fantastic shaped biscuits. Some students went a step further and decorated their biscuits with icing and biscuit toppings.

Overall, this project was a great success as the students really enjoyed the challenge.


Making Singing Christmas Cards

22nd December 2011

In this project students created singing Christmas cards. A small circuit was made inside the card,which consisted of a battery, a copper circuit board, copper wires and a transistor. Students also designed the front of the cards. Students really enjoyed this activity and the end results were very good.



21st December 2011

We investigated things that fluoresce under UV light and looked at the difference between phosphoresent and fluorescent materials.
The students also “light painted” a logo for our science club!



21st December 2011

Students were given an hour to plan and engineer a method of protecting an egg from a 4 metre fall. From this height we calculated that an average egg would be travelling at around 20 mph! suffice to say an unprotected egg would almost certainly smash.

The students had to protect their egg with the minimum amount of protection (either wrapping or parachute) necessary to survive the fall intact.

There were some novel apporoaches to protecting the eggs!

Mr Bell dropped the engineered eggs from the school office roof.
Around 1/3 of the eggs survived!



14th December 2011

A series of sessions which aim to discover the nature of sound.

Session 1
Students were introduced to the nature of sound using a slinky to demonstrate longitudinal waves, frequency & amplitutde. They then saw how waves can travel and be reflected using a ripple tank. Finally, students developed & carried out a method to measure the speed of a wave along a slinky (we intended to measure the speed of sound in air but the weather stopped us from going outside). Students noticed how a particular slinky only allowed waves to travel at a certain speed regardless of frequency or amplitutde. We then discussed the reasons why different slinkys allowed waves to travel at different speeds.

Session 2
Students used a fast timer to directly measure the time taken for sound to travel a metre before using this to calculate the speed of sound. Calculations were all within 10% of the published speed of sound in air. Students then used the equation f=(D*D)/16C to calculate the position of the focal point of a parabolic satellite TV dish. They plan to use this to reflect sound waves onto a microphone in order to produce a listening device…

Session 3
Having found the focal point students placed a sound meter at this point in order to investigate which type of surface would reflect sound the most. Students struggled with this due to the logarithmic nature of the decibel scale making it difficult to spot any differences between the surfaces. Having had the decibel scale explained to them, they repeated their tests making absolutely sure they kept their controlled variables as constant as possible (variables such as: the location of the sound meter in front of the dish, the type and volume of sound used and the distance between the sound and the dish). Students decided that harder surfaces are better at reflecting sound than softer ones.

Session 4
In order to make a listening device, students needed to place a microphone at the dish’s focal point and connect this to a speaker (or earphone). They therefore needed a signal amplification circuit. We found a circuit diagram for a simple Op Amp and students put it together using breadboards.

Session 5
Having placed the microphone at the focal point, students found that their listening devices did not work. We discussed the reasons for the failure and decided that either the microphone was not sensitive enough, the dish was not ideally shaped, the amplification circuit produced too little gain or the sound was not being reflected efficiently (probably a combination of all four in all honesty). This was disappointing – but that’s Science.

Session 6
In a different but related investigation, we thought we’d try to break a glass using sound. We found a video clip of this on YouTube and decided to attempt it ourselves. Having obtained a wine glass from the school canteen we linked a signal generator to a speaker and a microphone to an oscilloscope. We estimated the resonant frequency of the glass by flicking it and noting the waveform shown on the oscilloscope. We then produced a similar sound from the speaker using the signal generator. We placed a small drinking straw into the glass to show any vibrations that were induced and placed the whole assembly behind a safety screen. We then increased the amplitude of the sound and watched carefully. Nothing. Not a twitch from the straw. No sign at all that the glass was vibrating. A scan through the nearby frequencies still gave no result. More disappointment.
It did however produce some interesting discussions about sound production in general, the vibrations of the speaker demonstrated by placing the straw onto it and watching it dance around. We also discussed how our ears work and tested the limits of our hearing at low & high frequencies. This led to discussions about how our hearing differs from other animals in terms of its frequency range, how our hearing changes over time and how high frequency sounds can be used as a way to deter teenagers from loitering in shopping areas while leaving the adult population unaffected.


Flashing LED Lights

12th December 2011

A project kit from rapid electronics, which involved building flashing LED to simulate the light at railway crossing. This project involved understanding what variable resistors are and enabling the change of frequency. This project was successfully by the students where each one built their flashing LED kit.


Solar Boats 2012

12th December 2011

In conjunction with NYBEP Inspirations Event held annually at Elvington this club introduces KS3 students to designing and building their own solar powered boats.


AM radio kit

12th December 2011

This is a project based on a kit that was bought from rapid electronics. The project involves reading about the history of radio development and the workings of radio. It also explains radio waves and what AM (Amplitude Modulation) is all about. The project has been successful and 7 students have successfully built a working radio.


Toyota Challenge 2012

12th December 2011

Annual competition to design and build a solar powered model racer.


XMASS flashing LED lights

12th December 2011

This project was done at the request of the students and used existing kit bought from rapid electronics. The project is strainght forward although it needs the specifiaction notes that comes with the kit as the PCB board is not not labeled.