Science week: Friday

To end our science week we have held a number of events today. Starting off with another round of assemblies, Mrs Withers combined last week’s theme with science and talked about women in STEM subjects and how important it was to ensure everyone can follow the path that they want to.

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Mike poyser demonstrating how a tuning fork needs a surface to resonate for us to be able to hear it.

We were delighted to welcome Mike Poyser, tuba player and physicist. He has presented all around the world and currently runs an outreach project in collaboration with the Royal Albert Hall. He introduced year 6 – 8 to the world of sound and how sound is produced. This is an outreach project he has run for many years and it was amazing to see him adapt it for highly skilled young musicians.

One of the ideas he looked at was the speed of sound so Mr Hathway and myself were sent off to complete two demonstrations of the speed of sound. The first involved driving as fast as possible along the school drive with a trombone playing out the window to hear the pitch of the trombone change. This is called the Doppler effect and occurs because when a source of sound is travelling towards you each wave is produced closer to you than the last so the waves are shorter. When the source of the sound is moving away from you each sound wave is produced further away than the last.

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It means if you stand still it’s frequency (which is also pitch) increases the faster it moves towards you and  decreases as it moves away from you.

For the second demonstration, Mr Hathway went to the end of the school field and hit a snare drum. You could see him strike the drum before hearing the sound almost a second after. The demonstrated that sound was much slower than light. One of the pupils asked what would happen if it was the other way round and that led to an interesting discussion about how in space we can look back in time.

The final activity was to create a revision rap, looking at the content which had been covered in the morning. Pupils created raps and rhythms in groups before performing them to the class. The results were great fun and every group took the idea in a different direction.

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In academic subjects, year 10 history looked at the development of science and it’s impact on the 20th Century. In English Mrs Malan has spent the week getting her year 8 class to write persuasive arguments for an environmental issue and they performed these to the class today. Pupils chose issues such as excessive food waste, air pollution and  global warming; the group had to research why their topic was important and how it affected life. Art finished off the jewellery project with year 6. The group created some more beautiful copper pieces of jewellery which were then alloyed with zinc to create golden brass. You can see some of the finished pieces below.