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Science Week

21 March 2017

Last week we celebrated National Science Week with two amazing assemblies, a creative CREST project challenge for Year 9 and a scintillating Science Fayre poster/ model competition. To wrap things up, we will welcome nearly 50 Year 5 ‘Science Detectives’ to our very popular workshop on Saturday.

The theme for 2017 was ‘Change’. In the first assembly of the week, Mr Hardcastle informed the school of a newly published book, outlining the history of Chemistry education in girls’ schools. Featured in the book is a poem written by a pupil at Bath High School in 1909, reflecting on her first practical chemistry lesson where she investigated the changes that the element sulfur undergoes when heated. The poem is reproduced below. He finished assembly with a traditional performance of the 1812 Overture, complete with exploding balloons filled with hydrogen! On Thursday morning, Mr Moyle thrilled the school with his demonstrations of giant smoke rings.

We were very impressed with the excellence of the Year 9’s in their CREST challenge. The following review from Mathura and Darcy outlines the events of that challenge.

On Monday 13th March, half of year 9 travelled up Lansdown Hill, to Linden Homes - a building estate under construction. When we were there, we looked around a range of different show homes and were also shown a carcass of a million pound, 3 storey house. The site manager also talked about techniques and adaptation such as sustainable and recycled materials. 
On the other hand, the other half of year 9 were introduced to Google sketch up. This was a programme that allowed you to draw 3D sketches - we then used this in our project to display our site plan and house designs.

This was part of our bronze CREST award which stands for Creativity in Science and Technology. It states that we need to do at least 10 hours of a given project. Our given task was to create a housing development on 2000m2 of land with ten houses, including sustainable materials and adaptations. We were also given a challenge brief which included creating a scale site plan on A3 paper, a model, a display board and five-minute presentation.

Across three and a half days, Year 9 were off-timetable working on CREST. During these days, we had visits from Architects, engineers and ecologists giving us advice on our initial ideas, and different systems we could use.

The project required teamwork, time management and organisation. I think we can all agree that everyone was phased and stressed about the workload and the timeframe, but working as a team enabled us to produce amazing presentations and ideas by Thursday morning. 

At the end of the challenge we had to present this to a panel of judges that included two architects from Atkins Architecture, and two from Linden Homes. 

Overall I think we all benefited from this experience and it has helped with a variety of skills we will need later in life, especially our presentation of ideas.

When the final stress was released we all realised how much fun we had during the three days. CREST allowed us to do something completely different to classwork, learning new things on the way. 

On behalf of the whole of year nine, thank you to Mrs Parr for organising CREST incredibly well, and to Linden Homes and Atkins Architecture.

The Science Fayre entries are being judged and will be displayed in Science.

Thanks to all the staff and students for making Science Week such a success.

A New Girl’s Thoughts after her first Lesson in Practical Chemistry

(dedicated to Miss Davis [probably the chemistry teacher], with apologies to Shakespeare)

All the world’s a test-tube,

And all the men and women merely Sulphur;

They have their properties and possibilities;

And one lump in its time plays many parts.

At first the yellow, gritty to the taste,

And then the dirty brown, with spots of black,

And muddy, bubbling face, hopping like frog

Within its tube of glass.  And then the liquid,

Black as the River Styx, with filthy smell

Made to revolt its mistress’ nose.  Then treacle,

Full of great heat and sticky as the glue,

Brownish in colour, of adhesive quality,

Fixing itself on all things that it touches,

Even the thermometer.  And then a substance,

In fair round test-tube with dark horrors lined,

With dreadful look and gloomier aspect yet,

Full temperature one hundred, fifty seven;

And so it plays its part.  The sixth test shifts

Into the brown and nearly solid block,

With glass all round and tube poking about,

In its enormous heat, a world too great

For its small size; and its treaclyness

Turning again towards solidity,

Its colour still the same is always found.

Last stage of all that ends the Sulphur’s tests,

Is second lumpiness, mere repetition,

Sans treacle, bubbles, smells, sans everything.

“P.B.” (1909) ‘A new girl’s thoughts after her first lesson in practical chemistry’. Bath High School Chronicle, September, 16.


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