Celebrating Science Week
20 Mar 2015
This week, Perse staff and students have been celebrating all things science, in the name of Science Week 2015. This year’s theme was ‘light’ and so there have been lots of different activities for students to get involved in.
In physics, Years 7 and 8 made spectroscopes, and looked at the spectrum of light from different sources. Year 9 made telescopes and Year 8 compared the performance of different types of solar cells under different light conditions. The week was concluded with a stimulating and entertaining lecture on the development of the various theories of light. He looked in particular at the contribution of James Clerk Maxwell to our understanding of light. Although the weather was overcast, all pupils gathered on the playing fields, donned their safety glasses and eagerly awaited the arrival of the eclipse. Unfortunately it was not visible due to the cloud, but students nevertheless enjoyed learning about the physics of eclipses in a preparatory assembly earlier in the day.
Over in the Chemistry Department, Years 7 to 10 went off timetable for some fun chemistry lessons. Year 7 learnt about colour changing indicators and made brightly coloured rainbow fish using red cabbage juice and “kitchen chemistry”. Year 8 went on to learn about the chemistry of chocolate, with simple experiments and demonstrations, and of course an obligatory chocolate tasting session to close! Year 9 had an illuminating lesson about solar cells, learning we can even make them from raspberries. Year 10 turned their hands to the role of detective and had to solve a chemical “whodunnit” and catch a murderer using chemical testing and chromatography.
Beyond the classroom, on Monday evening 25 students from Years 11 and 12 went to see Peter Wother’s “Chemistry of Light” lecture as part of the Cambridge Science Festival. Students were transfixed by a series of fantastic experiments, which took them through the history of humans using and making light work to their advantage. The department also played host to a fantastic hands-on lecture about “stereochemistry” presented by Dr Richard Stephenson of the University of East Anglia. Students made models and learnt about the importance of the arrangement of atoms in space and their effect on the human body.
Zoolab visited the biology department to give a series of presentations to the Year 7 students on the subject of classification. The aim of this visit was to support the work the students have been doing in their biology lessons on classification and to enable them to see some of the animals that are in the different phyla and classes. Students had the opportunity to handle a beautiful Californian corn snake, a pygmy hedgehog, a rat and to observe tree frogs and a Chilean rose tarantula called Rosie! The Year 7 students were all up for the challenge of holding the animals and looking at the different features which allow biologists to classify them. The visit was an excellent opportunity to support the teaching of the classification topic.
As well as this special visit for Year 7, biology students have each had a lesson related to the science week theme of ‘Light’. In the Lower School students examined the phototaxic responses of maggots, Year 9 students performed some photosynthesis experiments examining the effects of different wavelengths of light on the rate of photosynthesis and Year 10 students completed an eye dissection.
It has been a very enriching week of activities for the students, giving them lots of opportunities to further explore the world of science.