Balshaw’s Church of England High School

National Science and Engineering Week 14th to 22nd March 2013

14 March 2013

National Science and Engineering Week took place from 14th to 22nd March 2013 making it the longest and biggest NSEW that Balshaw's has ever celebrated!  So what did we get up to...

Space Week for all Year 9 students at Balshaw's and beyond!

All week students in Year 9 took part in "Space Lessons" across the STEM subjects. This was helped by ideas and activities from the National Space Academy! In her role as Lead Educator for the National Space Centre in Leicester, Miss Molyneux introduced activities on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), an amazing project which will aim to see further into the universe than humans ever have before. Students got involved designing some of the features of the JWST using Smart Materials!

Thursday 14th March 2013 - Visit from Professor McCarthy!

Professor McCarthy made his annual visit to Balshaw's during Period 5 on Thursday to officially open National Science Week! His ever popular lecture "Microbes and You!" was well received by 180+ Year 11 students. 

A big thank you to Alan for coming along once again to help our Year 11 with their GCSE and BTEC studies as well as giving some excellent advice for those looking at applying for Sciences at University in the future!

Friday 15th to Sunday 17th March 2013 - Year 8 Castleton Weekend!

After the end of the school day on Friday 15th March, 42 Year 8 students made their way to Castleton, Losehill Hall for a weekend of Astronomy, Cookery and Health in a Science and Food Technology extravaganza! On Friday evening Miss Molyneux gave a star talk followed by some stargazing in the Peak District countryside helped by telescopes kindly provided by the Science Learning Centre North West and of course mugs of piping hot chocolate!

On Saturday 16th March Mrs Holden and Mrs Thomas from Food Technology took over the reins with a healthy pizza making workshop overseen by our own Headteacher Miss Venn! 

Finally, after a lovely walk up Mam Tor, the group returned to Balshaw's on Sunday afternoon. A big thanks to everyone at Castleton Losehill Hall - we will be back next year!

Monday 18th March - The North West Snake Man visits Balshaw's!

On Monday Dr John Vale visited Balshaw's. He is the official ‘snake catcher’ for the North West of England! He brought along his collection of wonderful animals to talk about to classes all day as well as allowing some lucky students to handle the animals! Ryan Hogan from Year 10 looks almost comfortable with Dr Vale's pet Python around his neck!

Dr Vale opened the day in Year 9 assembly, where he talked about his role as the snake catcher for the North West of England. He told the students how he had been called to many "false alarms" over the years, including a woman who mistook a large caterpillar for a snake and kept fainting at its sight!

Dr Vale then wowed students for the rest of the day with his snakes, tarantulas and giant African lands snails.

After school he was in for a surprise himself as one of our Science Club members Tom had brought his own snake for Dr Vale to look at!

A big thanks to Dr Vale for coming to Balshaw's!

Ex Balshavian returns to his roots to talk to Year 8 STEM Club!

On Tuesday 19th March, Nathan Skinner - an ex Balshaw's student from 2012, returned to school to present his very own Reptile Show to our Year 8 STEM Club!

Nathan brought his 8 year old Ball Python "Simon" and his new Gecko "Avra".

He wowed the students with his talk about how he feeds Simon with defrosted mice and how he recently discovered that Simon was in fact a girl snake!  Apparently, it is very difficult to tell the gender of a snake and Nathan got in touch with a snake expert who gave him some tips on how to tell!

We wonder if Nathan will be changing Simon's name?!

A massive thanks go to Nathan and we hope that he will be back with his wonderful array of pets for us in the future!

The Mystery of the Missing Radioactive Molecules!

Also on Tuesday 19th March, Year 9 and 10 Triple Science students were invited back to Balshaw's in the evening to solve a very dastardly crime!

One of the school's dangerous radioactive rocks had been stolen from its cupboard in Chemistry and the only witness to the crime was a French Assistant working in the school at the time!

Student pairs had to use their Scientific skills to analyse the clothing worn by the 5 suspects to work out what type of radioactive source had gone missing as well their linguistic prowess to decipher the witness statement provided by Jean Luc the French Assistant!

The winning duo were Jack Crompton and Sam Clayton from Year 10, closely followed by Year 9 runners up Heather Colmar and Kaitlin Corry!

Wednesday 20th March - The Science of Invention and Discovery Exhibition!

Wednesday of Science Week saw an amazing exhibition of models, posters, presentations and displays made by our Year 8 students.  The Learning Resource Centre became a hive of activity as our Governors were invited to come along and quiz the student about their work.  Students were invited to choose a Scientific Invention or Discovery and present reasons why it is so important to humans.

Mrs Mote, Mr Woodcock and Mr Otter from the governing body had the difficult task of choosing a winner!

Tom Clarkson is pictured above with Mrs Mote and his model of the Discovery of Antibiotics. Tom wins an IPod Touch! Runners up were Ethan Wade with his portrayal of the discovery of Fire and Cerys Moore who explained the importance of the invention of plastic!

Thursday 21st March - BAE STEM Ambassadors visit Balshaw's Maths, Science and Technology lessons!

All week for National Science and Engineering Week, students in Maths, Technology and Science lessons enjoyed special activities based on the theme of Space!

On Thursday 21st March we were joined by two STEM Engineering ambassadors from industry.

Ross Cottam (pictured left giving an Engineering Careers Talk to Year 10) attended Balshaw's from 2000-2005 and is now a Graduate Mechanical Engineer working on Missile Systems. Ross also visited a Maths lesson to help student design their own rockets and judged the Mission Badge Design competition in Graphic Products.

Nathan Arrowsmith from BAE Systems helped Year 11 students to understand the concept of Terminal Velocity whilst building parachutes to safely land an egg when dropped from a 5 metre height!

He then gave a superb talk to our GCSE Astronomy class on "Exoplanets"; a new and exciting part of the GCSE syllabus.

A massive thank you to both our Engineer visitors and we hope that you will return next year!

And so that's it for another NSEW. A huge thank you to all our visitors, students, governors, staff and parents that got involved!

Tags: STEM News