On Wednesday 23rd November, our year 7 pupils visited Prior Park. The Science workshops were organised by the Science Department, where pupils experienced mini lessons in Biology, Chemistry and Physics in Prior Park’s state of the art Science Labs.
Pupils were split into their teaching classes, off to their first lesson for the afternoon, Physics with Headmaster Mr. Watts. Pupils were to be taught about how fire actually initiates. With the objectives set, the pupils were soon following the instructions. With balloons being blown up, with the occasional bang of a balloon or two, pupils were soon rubbing balloons on their hair, giving the balloon a charge. This experiment was to investigate how two opposites attract, with static electricity being the imbalance of positive and negative charges. The pupils then looked at how charging two different plastics could be used to attract and repel an object, thus creating motion. The third experiment was to highlight the safety aspect of the charge through ignition. Mr Watts also showed how the source of charge could be passed through his body to ignite a Bunsen burner, thus showing how sparks can be dangerous around flammable vapours and materials.
Chemistry was our next lesson, being taught by Dr. Lnenicek-Allen. Pupils were soon excited when they saw Smarties™ on their lab benches; the bad news was they were not for eating! However, a great hands-on experiment looking at chromatography was to come. Using new scientific equipment, the pupils soon had a drop of water along with the Smarties in a Petri dish. After a short while the colourant came off the Smarties which are diluted in the water. It was now time to transfer the coloured water onto the chromatography paper. It was then time to dilute the colourant on the paper, investigating and concluding the changes that occurred as the water spread. Pupils saw the colours breakdown even further, showing all the different substances used to colour the Smarties™.
Biology was the last lesson, taught by Mrs Devincenzi-Clemens. Looking at the human body, our organs are crucial for our survival, especially our lungs, which is where we began. With three experiments lined up, the pupils were soon introduced as to how they could measure their lung capacity. The answer, by holding their breath, so with a timer running, deep breaths given it was time to see who could hold their breath for the longest. After 20 seconds our first gasp for air occurred and the silence was broken. As the time approached 45 seconds, a few red faces were amongst the pupils with 1 minute and 17 seconds being the best time. This isn’t really an accurate way to measure lung capacity, so experiment two followed.
Could displacement give a more accurate result? Working out that it could, a bottle was then filled up with water, placing this upturned in a bowl, with a tube fed into the bottle. It was soon time to predict what would happen if air was exhaled into the tube. A nominated pupil stepped up. With a long inhalation of air, blowing into the tube the water soon displaced from inside the bottle, thus giving a reading on the bottle markings. Experiment 3, with balloons at the ready, pupils now knowing that exhaling is better to record capacity it was time to blow up the balloons. Once the balloons were blown up, the pupils recorded their diameter, repeating the process to get an average. The competition was then on! With boys versus girls, the individual results were written on the board, then averaged to find out which gender had the better lung capacity, and it wasn’t always the boys!
The pupils and staff from Loreto would like to thank everyone at Prior Park School for a truly wonderful experience.