Students wowed by display of do-it-yourself science

With a fizz and a pop and an appropriate amount of flame, pupils were introduced to a world of chemistry they could do at home at Ormiston Denes Academy this week.

Kitchen Chemistry, performed by Dr Stephen Ashworth, included flames inside water cooler bottles, cornflour powder on fire, and the magic of super absorbers.

Shown to years five to eight, the experiments were watched by nine of north Lowestoft’s primary schools after an invitation was sent across the area, and to students from the Academy.

Dr Ashworth, a reader in Chemistry and Head of Natural Science at the University of East Anglia, is funded by the University’s outreach programme, which aims to get young pupils across the region interested in science and learning.

He said: “Everything that I have done today could be reproduced at home, albeit with supervision. If nothing the kids are entertained, I hope and some of them will take something away from it. Obviously in classes like this, there are children who are not necessarily going to specialise in Chemistry, they’re more interested in history or philosphy. But I’m there to say that it’s all around you. You don’t have to know everything, but it’s good to know a bit.”

Director of STEM at Ormiston Denes Academy, Catherine Ludbrook, said that getting the primary school students to the secondary school helps them ahead of their move up, and gives them an idea of what science will be like once they move schools.

She said: “I think it’s wonderful. It almost demystifies the science for them a little bit and they might go out and try some of the things.

“They don’t get to experience a lot of science at primary school so it takes some of the fear out of it and it becomes real for them.”

The lectures were attended by more than 700 students, with 350 travelling from Northfield, Woods Loke, Gunton, St Margarets, Roman Hill, Oulton Broad, Corton, Blundeston, and Somerleyton Primaries.

Dr Ashworth’s appearance comes ahead of a STEM Spectacular that is being organised at Ormiston Denes Academy on May 3.

The BBC’s Marty Jopson will be in attendance for two presentations, one for primary schools and one for the community.

Source: The Lowestoft Journal.

Posted in Academy news on 21st February 2018.

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