Science is Fun

Last week was National Science Week and to spread the word of the wonders of the scientific world, staff and Sixth Form students from Hedingham School were invited to work at St John the Baptist Primary School in Pebmarsh for the day. One of the Sixth Formers involved, 16 year old Kyle Coldwell attended Pebmarsh Primary School when he was younger and he commented, ‘It was excellent returning to my primary school and seeing some familiar faces. All the children were very enthusiastic about science which was really good.’

The youngest pupils at the primary school had a fascinating morning using pooters to investigate the life in leaf litter and some got very friendly with the snails they discovered! They also made ‘indicator fish’ which they painted with household acids and alkalis to help them to understand chemicals in the home. Just before lunch the 5 year olds had the chance to get their hands in frog spawn to feel what it was like and look at newts and frogs. Sixth Former Charlie Rivers who is 17 and lives in Halstead said, ’ I really enjoyed looking at the frogs and newts and so did the young children – we all especially enjoyed feeling the sliminess of the frog spawn!’ As Charlie hopes to be a primary school teacher in the future, this experience will stand him in good stead!

Older pupils had the opportunity to react metals and dilute acids to produce hydrogen gas which makes a wonderfully loud squeak when tested with a lighted splint. That gave everyone quite a surprise! They also tried out chromatography techniques, testing a range of felt pens to see the variety of coloured inks used and tackling some forensic science with fingerprinting experiments. They ended up making coco mentos fountains where mentos sweets are placed in large bottles of Diet Coke and produce a spectacular fountain fuelled by the gas produced. As the wind suddenly blew in the wrong direction at this moment a number of young people got quite sticky!!

Miss Charlea De’ath, Coordinator of Science at the primary school, invited Hedingham School Science Department to join them at Pebmarsh for the day. Charlea was previously a student at Hedingham School and went on to train as a primary school teacher after completing her A levels in the Sixth Form. Charlea commented, ‘What more could we have asked for? Test tubes, hydrochloric acid, finger printing, cabbage paper fish, exploding coke, leaf littering, chromatography and a stomach-turning 'Digestive System' experiment - the latter caused screams of delight and revulsion in equal measure! Hedingham staff and students led the activities with energy, humour and no small amount of patience! It was wonderful to have further ways to prove to the children that Science is exhilarating, unexpected and all around us. 
An excellent day was had by all and as 17 year old Joe Nourse from Halstead commented, ‘The day was a bunch of fun for everyone! It was great working with the primary school team and seeing the children learn more about Science.’

It wasn’t only the primary age children that had fun during National Science Week; Year 7 and 8 students at Hedingham School also had the chance to take part in exciting scientific activities at lunchtime including making methane bubbles which burst into flames in their hands (don’t do this one at home!!), making silly putty to play with and learning about the pH scale using rainbow fizzes.