Throughout this term we have been busy running STEM Club after school which has included a number of challenges and competitions, a visit from a neuroscientist and the creation of some bizarre contraptions. Sixth Form College girls have led on most of the activities with a mixture of students from Year 8 up to College II taking part.
We started by designing the perfect paper aeroplane. A range of designs were tested for the longest flight time and the furthest distance achieved. In week 2, we met Chris Neale, a neuroscientist from the University of York. Chris demonstrated the dissection of a pair of pig’s brains and gave a great presentation on how the brain works, and what can go wrong with it.
In Week 3, we designed marshmallow-flinging catapults. The girls split into teams to create a catapult that was both powerful and accurate – much easier said than done when working with cocktail sticks, spoons and tape. However, we did end up with some fantastic machines, with one firing a marshmallow almost the full length of the room to take the win. Following on from that, was a Harry Potter-inspired potions class in which ‘eye of newt’ was mixed with ‘witches warts’ and ‘shredded lizard gizzard’ to see what would happen.
Weeks 5 and 6 saw us combine maths and engineering as we built towers from spaghetti as well as the Science Technicians leading a session making kaleidoscopes and bath bombs. Things took a sinister turn later in the term as we discussed forensic science around a chalk body outline at the back of the science lab. Our CSI team analysed some hairs and fibres and collected fingerprints to reveal the the culprit.
In week 8 we explored how to send a Dorito through the post without it breaking. With the size and weight of the package reducing the amount of points you could score, everyone had to think creatively to get the right balance. We all had good fun experimenting with our designs, and filling one of the Technician’s pigeonholes with envelopes full of Doritos! The following week we took this one step further – how do you send something fragile to Mars? We started by making a landing craft which safely drop an egg from a height without breaking it with the added difficulties of not being able to use a parachute (the atmosphere of mars is much thinner than ours.) A difficult task which three of our STEM Club, creating a UFO-looking lander, seemed to have no trouble at all.