Pupils enjoy British Science Week at Ayrshire College

Pupils enjoy British Science Week at Ayrshire College

Over 100 pupils from across Ayrshire enjoyed science and engineering workshops at Ayrshire College’s Ayr Campus on Wednesday 11 March for British Science Week (6-15 March 2020).

British Science Week is a ten-day programme of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) events. Every year for British Science Week, Ayrshire College invites Primary 7 pupils to take part in a number of fun practical activities.

After a quick health and safety briefing, primary 7 pupils from Holmston Primary, St. John’s Primary and Ayr Grammar Primary rotated around four science activities and two engineering activities under the watchful eyes of Ayrshire College lecturers.

The science activities were: flame testing, a health and fitness test, an enzyme catalase experiment, and making a constellation viewer.

  • Flame testing involved the pupils placing a number of different metals into the flame of a Bunsen burner and noting the colour of each flame.
  • The health test involved recording each pupil’s pulse, lung capacity and temperature.
  • The enzyme catalase experience involved pupils filling a glass cylinder with 20ml of hydrogen peroxide. They then added 10 drops of dishwater detergent, and recorded the height of foam produced as a result and tested for oxygen.
  • Using just a few household items including a toilet roll, a sponge and a square of black crepe paper, the pupils make a constellation viewer for the constellation ORION.

The engineering tasks set for the pupils explored physics and aeronautical principles.

  • Pupils investigated the principles of theory of flight by making paper copters and hoop gliders. Competitive spirit was encouraged to see whose has the longest flight.
  • Virtual reality headsets allowed the pupils to explore the future of aviation and space travel and experience the Mars rover seeing first-hand what it would be like on the surface of the red planet.
  • With the Bulldog aircraft, pupils experienced a pilot’s point of view, for many the first time in an aircraft. Sitting in the cockpit allowed them to handle some of the controls and view the instrumentation that are used in flying.

Current college students volunteered to facilitate the activities and were able to provide the pupils with an insight into their college experience and what their courses involve.

Alan McDowall, Science lecturer at Ayrshire College, said: “Our students planed, prepared and delivered an outstanding event that had the school pupils fizzing with bubbles of scientific curiosity. Engaging experiential learning for Scotland’s future scientist. The school pupil’s enthusiasm rippled through the labs like gravity waves. A red hot cosmic experience!”

Sarah Taylor, Engineering lecturer at Ayrshire College, said: “Our NC and HN apprentice students delivered a fantastic event, drawing on their own knowledge and experience to enthuse and inspire the next generation of engineers. Pupils were engaged in activities that were fun, interactive as well as educational. Overall, the day was an outstanding success that demonstrated that, for future aeronautical engineers, the sky is not the limit and left the pupils feeling out of this world.”

16 March 2020

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