British Science Week 2017

British Science Week is an annual ten-day event which celebrates Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in schools across the country.

This year’s event took place between Friday 10th and Sunday 19th March with students from Withernsea High School being given the opportunity to engage in a number of demonstrations and activities under the chosen theme of Hull and the City of Culture.

 
Throughout the week, Key Stage 3 science lessons
focussed on the study of food dyes, indicators and chemical reactions.

Students were tasked with making indicators to identify acid and alkali in various foods. These indicators were then passed to the art department to be used as material dyes – creating a cross-curriculum link which represented the use of science in city of culture artistic projects.

Students also learnt about chemical reactions in fireworks in an activity which was inspired by the display over the
Humber in January.

They explored the science behind creating different
coloured flames using various chemical reactions, after which they were tasked with designing their own fireworks.

LEFT: A short video showing some of the activities that took place throughout the week.


Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) – Made in Hull

On Monday 13th March, our science week began with a visit from Professor Mark Lorch, Associate Dean for Engagement for the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Hull University, who delivered a demonstration of Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) – the universally used molecule present in most modern mobile phones, televisions and similar devices which was pioneered by Professor George Gray CBE at Hull University in the 1970s.

In front of a packed audience of our year 7 and 8 students,
Professor Lorch explained how the research conducted at Hull University by Professor Gray and his team had paved the way for the first generation of commercially usable displays. He then demonstrated the basics of how LCD works by using a 3 meter parachute and plastic balls to simulate how molecules fly around solids, liquids and gasses.

 

Last year more than 750 million LCD products, with an estimated value of £56 billion, were manufactured worldwide - all inspired by the breakthrough made in Hull. Forty years on, the University of Hull continues to lead the way in the development of the next generation of LCD technology (Organic Light Emitting Diodes - OLEDs) which promise thinner screens, sharper pictures and greater energy efficiency.

Senior Science Technician Viki Foster commented: ’It was great to get Mark into school to do a presentation for our students. He is such a lively and enthusiastic presenter that he captured the student’s imagination and attention immediately. The students all know about LCD through modern media devices, so for them to learn it came from Hull and how it works will hopefully have been an inspiration to them.’


Hull York Medical School - Careers Trip

 
On Wednesday 15th March, a group of thirteen Year 9 students attended a careers workshop for Hull York Medical School at the Hull University Campus.

Our students were given the opportunity to work with second year medical students and their tutors to engage in a series of training activities typical of a medicine degree.

The day started with a medical pair’s game. This helped to identify roles within medicine, looking at the training routes and the variety of fields available. 

The medical students then introduced a problem based learning activity which they routinely use as part of their training.

Our students were given details of a patient suffering from chest pain and then discussed the possible causes. The patient details and lifestyle were scrutinised to identify possible tests that may give further information and lead to a diagnosis. The medical students then demonstrated a variety of examination techniques including looking at peak flow and monitoring lung function. The students compared the values to normal levels to identify potential problems.

After a campus tour to see the new multimillion pound building currently under construction, our students met Professor Sunil Bhandari who conducted a medicine workshop. As a top specialist in kidney disease he gave a very engaging talk on his role and the opportunities available within the NHS. Along with the medical students he then trained our students in monitoring blood pressure with both manual and automatic sphygmomanometers. 

The trip was led by Science Teacher Ian Dyke who commented: ‘It was a great opportunity for our students to engage with qualified and trainee doctors and to work in the medical laboratories surrounded by model organs and to use the specialist equipment.’ 

Alexandra Murphy, Widening Participation and Outreach Officer for the Hull York Medical School, added: 'The Medicine Discovery Day at Hull York Medical School has been designed to support Year 9 students to consider a career in medicine and other health professions. HYMS is committed to supporting local students in the region to help them become our doctors of the future.'


Demo Day

Thursday 16th March saw members of the science faculty open their classroom doors to the whole school during dinner time as they took part in ‘Demo Day’ – an annual campaign during British Science week that aims to inspire teachers and technicians to provoke discussions and generate excitement through the running of exciting science demonstrations.

Among the many demos on display were the perennially popular Van de Graaff generator, a static electricity creating device which is always guaranteed to provide a ‘hair-raising’ experience and the Ruebens tube – a visually stunning physics experiment which demonstrates the relationship between sound waves and sound pressure using music and flames.

Other demonstrations included the ‘flaming coffee whitener’ experiment which highlights the energy contained in food by the explosive reaction which is released when sprinkled over a naked flame and ‘water in to wine’ – an impressive experiment which uses a series of chemical reactions to change one solution from being clear to red and back again.

Examples of some of these experiments can be seen in the highlights video at the top of this page.