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GDST Techathon

26 June 2019

Year 4 and 5 girls from 19 schools across the Trust made their way to Brunel University for the GDST Techathon. This year the theme was Tech in Space and we had the opportunity to find out about life in space from scientists, student ambassadors from the university and the amazing immersion dome.

We were greeted with breakfast when we arrived, which was much appreciated after our long bus journey and then the day began. Our first activity was coding with Scratch, imagining that we were landing on the moon. We shared our creations with girls from other schools. The next stop was with scientist Julie Keeble.

We were fascinated to find out that Julie works on science investigations both in and around space, although she has never actually been into Space herself. Her love of all things space does not extend to space travel; in fact her fear of heights and motion sickness mean that she has no desire to take up astronaut training. However, she does love hearing about astronauts’ adventures! She was able to help us understand how an object orbits the earth – did you know that it is not actually flying but it is falling and just keeps missing the Earth which is why it stays in orbit. We then built our own space shuttles and launched them into orbit.

Chocolate welding was our next activity, where we were set the challenge to build a bridge using chocolate; it was just like being a real engineer; it was great fun ‘welding’ the chocolate together. We loved being designers and even managed to not eat any chocolate….that was a challenge! Our bridges were tested to see how much weight would hold with the winning chocolate bridge holding an impressive 3.8 kilograms!

Robots are an important part of space exploration and Brunel University’s student ambassadors let us use Spheros to play a fun quiz. We learnt lots about university life in a really fun way. Next, we were back to Julie who helped us discover what it is like to be an astronaut. Being in space means that you are unable to taste food, it is a bit like eating with your fingers pinching your nose. To know what this is like try guessing the flavour of a skittle, holding your nose as you eat it – we couldn’t do it. To make their food more tasty, astronauts add chilli sauce to their food.

The last stop was the immersive dome, where we found out about life on the space station whilst lying on our backs. We were so immersed that it actually felt like we were in space – what an amazing end to our day. We would like to say a huge thank you to GDST for inviting us along and for Mrs Drew and Mrs Hughes for making it happen.

Chessie, Sophie, Sophia P, Bella, and Sophia S, 4RM

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