Weston schools experience hands-on science
Press release issued: 7 April 2003
Children from schools in Weston-super-Mare will get the opportunity to meet a 200 million year old dinosaur, handle geological specimens and sample liquid-nitrogen ice-cream as part of two science activity days at Bristol University.
The activity days aim to enthuse 14- and 15-year-olds about science and give them an insight into the kind of work going on at the university.
On Monday 7 April, around 40 pupils from Broadoak Community School, Priory Community School and Wyvern Community School, Weston-super-Mare will spend the day in the Department of Physics.
The children will conduct hands-on experiments to generate high voltages with water jets, explore the effects of eddy currents on 'jumping rings' and study how a pendulum can produce 'chaos'.
In the afternoon, Sir Michael Berry, Royal Society Research Professor of Physics will lecture on 'Seven Wonders of Science'. Then Dr Vince Smith will give a fun demonstration of the effects of low temperatures on simple materials (such as air, rubber, and bananas) and show how liquid nitrogen can be used to make ice-cream.
Dr Smith said: "The children will gain real, hands-on experience of Physics and see what it's like in laboratories where world-class research is taking place. We hope that the experience will show them just how interesting and exciting science can be."
On Tuesday 8 April, the schools will spend the day in the Department of Earth Sciences and meet the Bristol Dinosaur, Thecodontosaurus, which roamed Bristol over 200 million years ago. The children will also visit the palaeontology lab and handle geological specimens that are several millions of years old.
The afternoon's activities will include a 'Crystals, Jaws and Claws' Discovery Trail and a debate on the future of science.
Professor Mike Benton, Head of the Department of Earth Sciences said: "We consider it very important to take science to schools in Bristol and the surrounding area. We hope that activity days such as this will encourage GCSE pupils to keep up their science subjects at school and perhaps consider pursuing science at university."