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Specialist Science News & Reviews

HERO Day – Year 8 Trip to Leicester University

40 Year 8 students attended a HERO day at Leicester University on Monday 7th July.  HERO stands for Health Education Reaching Out and so the whole day had a health theme. The students took part in 4 different hands on sessions throughout the day. These included:
Session 1 – Respiration and Smoking, where students got to analyse the percentages of carbon dioxide and oxygen in exhaled breath and measure their lung capacity. They also saw haw much tar and sputum, a smoker of 20 cigarettes a day, produces in a month.
Session 2 – Breast Cancer, this was an interactive quiz on breast cancer, looking at environmental factors and their associated risks.
Session 3 – The Digestive System, in this session students saw a life size model of the digestive system and they then had a race to see who could re-arrange cards of parts of the digestive system, first. 
Session 4 – Food, students first looked as examples of food from the 4 major food groups and completed a food diary for the previous two days, to give them an idea of who balanced their diets are. They then had to put foods in order of salt, sugar and fat content. The students were amazed to find out how much salt, sugar and fat were hidden in everyday foods!

The students thoroughly enjoyed the day and were a credit to SJNCC:

HERO day was very enjoyable and there was a good variety of things to do. It was nice to see everyone working together and the talks were really useful. I would love to go to the University again and I would give this trip a 10/10.    Danielle Cowles 8.4

HERO day was such an enjoyable experience and so when it was time to go none of us wanted to leave! All the activities were hands on and you could really throw yourselves in. Thanks to Mrs Kellock and Miss Bilson for organising the trip.    Natasha Stoyce 8.4

Launch Day - SJNCC celebrated its Science with Maths Specialist College status with a two day extravaganza.

This involved all students at the college plus the future Year
7's who came for an induction day. On the day Year 6 students designed and built rocketsin their Science and Art taster lessons on 4 July (very appropriate as the Americans launched their space shuttle on this date). Certificates were presented to the most successful rocket makers.

The climax of the day was the release of 500 helium balloons by both the prospective Year 7s and the current Year 7s (now Year 8) on the netball courts. This was spectacular and a nearby helicopter must have wondered what was going on (Air Traffic Control may have struggled to work out what was appearing on their screens).

On the Wednesday Science and Maths activities were arranged over the lunch hour and all completely sold out. Outside speakers and workshops included Zoolab, Exit Planet Earth (from the Space Centre), Living in Space, Extracting DNA, Kitchen Chemistry and Making Rockets. It was a fabulous two days, enjoyed by all.

Primary School Links

We hosted 3 Saturday workshops on the Science of Space for Year 5 and 6 students from our 5 main feeder schools. This involved 3 separate sessions investigating the Biology, Chemistry and Physics of Space Science. An expert was invited in to discuss the Biology of Space which included going to the toilet and keeping your body fit and healthy in Space. Mrs Kellock led a session on the Chemistry of Space and the primary students investigated the best proportions of hydrogen and oxygen to use as rocket fuel. Miss Shearer’s session focussed on the Physics of Space and researched the best material for a space suit which can keep an astronaut warm on Mars and withstand micrometeorites. Parents were invited for the final session of the day. The aim of the last session was to design and build a Mars Lander.

Dynamic DNA

31 year 9 students attended ‘Dynamic DNA’ at the University of Leicester on Thursday 13th September. The event was organised by the GENIE team. The day began with a lecture from professor Joblin in the lecture theatre. The lecture was fascinating and looked at the genetic journey of DNA fingerprinting from when Alec Jeffries from the university first pioneered the technique, which has been used to solve paternity cases, exonerating suspects, convicting Colin Pitchfork of the murders of two children in Enderby. Right through to the more recent use of DNA profiling in the Madeline McCann case. The following session focussed on dinosaurs and the ice age. DID YOU KNOW that when the teeth of a woolly mammoth wear down, he used to spit them out and grow another set. He could do this 6 times until his teeth would stop growing, and then he would die.

And DID YOU ALSO KNOW that DNA has recently been extracted from a fossil of a T-Rex which is 68 million years old. Can you imagine bringing it back to life? Eeek! Other sessions included extracting DNA from a banana, making a chimpanzee DNA bracelet and meeting a world renowned scientist, Dr Esther Signer, who authenticated that Dolly the sheep was in actual fact a clone. “I really liked the experience in Leicester University and my favourite was ‘fab DNA lab’. I think this was my best experience ever” – Saniya Saiyed 9.5 “I thought this experience was great. I felt very lucky to have been chosen to go on this trip. All of the tasks were interesting and fun to do. I hope that other students will also get the opportunity to be able to come on the trip!
Ikiren 9.6

Dynamic DNA 2010

Year 9 students spent an exciting day in the genetics laboratories at the University of Leicester. Student’s learnt about the human genome, cloning of Dolly the Sheep, extracting DNA, the DNA database, DNA fingerprints and genetic engineering. DNA

Here are some of the student’s thoughts:

“I have really enjoyed the day and found all the information on fingerprints really interesting”
Rosie Madge 9.6

“I really liked all the activities. I found the information like DNA and genes really interesting and will help in future for Science lessons”
Paawan Mann 9.6DNA

“I had a great day and really enjoyed the lecture on human genes and DNAn fingerprinting. I also really liked looking at the DNA of a banana”
Safia Patel 9.6

Science in the Classroom

Please click here to download a pdf of Celebrating National Chemistry week with a bang!

Lab in a Lorry

Lab in a lorry is an interactive mobile physics laboratory staffed by volunteer practising scientists and engineers. lorryTheir aim is to make physics and scientific careers more attractive to young people.
Three interactive experiments were undertaken covering Resonance, A simulation of how oil is extracted and polarised light to create a spiral rainbow. Students having lab in lorryPhysics lessons that day were invited but sadly due to time constraints only one group from each year were able to go.
(We hope to arrange another visit so other students may attend). Positive feed back from students and Laboratory staff reinforced this as an enjoyable learning experience.

Go for Green Science Club

The story so far - A group of dedicated Yr 7 & 8 students formed Go 4 Green Science club in January 2008. Students designed and democratically voted for a logo and name for the group. Go 4 Green gives the groGo for Greenup an identity and statement of its intentions. Students have researched Global Warming and calculated their Carbon Footprints.
Raised awareness in the “Circus of Decay examining how long items take to decompose.
Planted tree seeds, made newspaper plant pots, designed their own worm compost bins complete with worms!
Researched how to save water, made water hippos, completed an individual waste water questionnaire and discussed the schools water bill!
Joined forces with Student Council to promote sustainable schools.
To celebrate the International Year of the Potato Go 4 Green joined the National Potato Councils growingGo for Green initiative. 10,000 schools were involved in a mass research project to grow the largest crop of potatoes from two varieties supplies by the Council. Go 4 Green followed strict organic guidelines and harvested a delicious crop of 2kg.
Sharing of the outside space between L6 and Science Corridor to be known as the ECO Zone will enable students to provide organic vegetables for the student cafeteria.
A research project has been undertaken to establish the most effective organic method of slug control when growing lettuce from seed.
Students have been invited to submit their research projects for the British Association of Advancement of Science (BA) Bronze Crest Awards.


Tropical Birdland

Students have been to this popular local attraction for the last two years as a reward trip for attending the Year 9 Science Club. It was also organised as a Year 8 trip to celebrate National Science Week. Students learn about the natural habitats and adaptations of different birds as well as having the opportunity to hold them during a ‘hands on’ sessions with the centre staff.

Flatford Mill - Year 9 Residential Ecology Field Course   5 - 9 June 2006

The purpose of this field course was to give students a practical insight into ecology and environmental issues. This course was aimed to enrich their GCSE environment module in Year 10.

Three main investigations were carried out during our stay.
The following areas were looked at:
1. The Rocky Shore
2. Fresh Water Ecology
3. Woodland Ecology

Monday 5th June 2006 - Arrival Day
We arrived at Flatford Mill in time for lunch and sat out in the beautiful grounds surrounding the mill.  The afternoon involved unpacking and settling in.  Following this we went on a historical tour learning about the origins of Flatford Mill and the work of John Constable.  In the evening students set mammal traps which would be observed the following morning.

Tuesday 6th June 2006 - The Rocky Shore
Students checked their pitfall traps to see what mammals they had caught from the previous night. These were then released back into their habitats.  Following this students attended a lecture about rocky shore ecology.  Students then went to Harwich harbour.  The purpose of the visit to Harwich Harbour was to introduce students to identifying living organisms and to understand how their adaptations enabled them to live there.  Following this study, students analysed data back at Flatford Mill and formed conclusions.

Wednesday 7th June 2006 - Fresh Water Ecology
After a short lecture about fresh water ecology students went out into the Mill area and pond dipped.  The purpose of this was for students to practise identifying fresh water organisms.  One group even caught a baby Eel!  Following this activity, students went and sampled a stream to look at the affect of a sewage outflow pipe on the number and types of invertebrates present.  In the evening students analysed data and formed conclusions.  Following this students went on a night walk giving them an opportunity to see bats and listen to Nightingales in their natural habitat.

Thursday 8th June 2006 - Woodland Ecology
After a short lecture about woodland ecology students went and visited coppiced woodland (Great Martins Hill Wood).  At the wood students looked at the variety of plants found in a mature part of the wood and a recently coppiced area of woodland.  Students also analysed the light intensity, pH and moisture content of soil.  Once back in the workroom students measured the pH of the soil samples and carried out statistical analysis which enabled them to form conclusions.  After this students set moth traps.  As a final night celebration students took part in a treasure hunt and talent show.

Friday 9th June 2006 - Moth traps

On the morning of the final day students went and looked at moths caught in the traps that were set the previous night.  The moths sat on the end of a pen allowing students to observe and classify them at close quarters.  The students were amazed at the massive numbers of different species caught and equally amazed at how beautiful they were.

Space Centre

A group of students were fortunate enough to spend 2hoursSpaceCentre a week at the National Space Centre for a term so that they could study in detail about life in space. This included making full use of the Space centre, studying the solar system, the electromagnetic spectrum and even the difficulties of going to the toilet in space!  At the end of each session, the girls improved their ICT skills by presenting their work on computer.



National Science and Engineering Week

50th anniversary of the first human in space

On April 12th 1961 Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin successfully completed an orbit of the Earth. This was the first human into outer space. This was a major stepping stone in putting a human on the Moon.

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