Superhero Science And Real-Life Forensics At Queen Anne's

Wednesday 8th April 2015

The Queen Anne’s Science Department ran a whole host of activities as part of British Science Week, which took place this year from Friday 13 March until Sunday 22 March 2015. Events are run throughout the UK, with the aim of celebrating science, engineering and technology and its importance in our lives.

In the two weeks in the run up to British Science Week, the department incubated chicken eggs and the girls loved watching them hatch and grow. A webcam attached to the incubator, displayed in the foyer of the Science Centre, highlighted the stay of our ‘feathered friends’.

Science Week then properly got off to a bang on Monday 16 March with our ‘Festival of Science’ for local junior schools. Our visitors took part in an inter-school science quiz and watched a science show put on by David Price from ‘Science Made Simple’. The title of the show was ‘Superheroes’ and was an interactive presentation about the science behind their powers. David also put on a most informative and entertaining show entitled ‘A Rough Guide to Engineering’ for pupils in years L4, 4, and U4.

On Monday 16 March, two academics from Reading University visited Queen Anne’s to lead a couple of really interesting seminars about new treatments for cancer and hypotension, attended by members of U5 and the Sixth Form.

Tuesday 17 March saw the U4 Inter-House Science quiz, which proved to be a tightly fought contest. Maddock House were the eventual winners.

On Wednesday 18 March, Queen Anne’s hosted the ‘Foundation Schools’ Science Challenge’. In this event Year 8 pupils from Emanuel, Westminster City, Sutton Valance and Queen Anne’s went head to head.  This involved giving the competitors a taste of real-life forensics together with the opportunity to solve a mysterious death. They needed to apply their best problem solving skills as the teams uncovered twists, turns and shock revelations in a dramatic film-like mystery. The teams harvested, processed and analysed the evidence as a CSI-like unit. They learnt techniques from the beginnings of forensic science right through to DNA fingerprinting. Repeating last year’s success, Queen Anne’s were announced as the winning team and Emmeline Bolton’s, Year 4, reports on the event below:

“On Wednesday 18 March, I was picked to take part in a Foundation Schools’ Science Challenge. The festival included our Foundation Schools coming to Queen Anne’s to take part in the competition. The theme was murder and mystery and all the teams, there were five in total, were asked to complete lots of different activities to the best of their ability. The teams were then scored on how well they did each activity. The instructor also said that we had to answer four questions on the killing of the person, who was named Ben. They were who, how, why and if it was suicide, an accident or murder. 

The first activity we did was all about fingerprints. Because most of us had never been taught about how to take fingerprints, everybody in the room had a masterclass on it. Recording finger prints took patience and practise. After doing 16 different prints, most people began to feel that they were getting better and better at it and most of us were staring to really respect how much skill the people who record fingerprints have. After we had recorded the prints, we than had to analyse them and do a quiz. That took us up to lunch and before I knew it we were back testing DNA. After having the DNA masterclass, everyone felt very nervous because one wrong move could make our team lose the competition. However, all went well and our results were very accurate. Along the way we were given hint sheets about different people who might have been involved. The last task we did was about different substances that were found in the car and we had to test them for different things.

After all the information had been gathered, we then had to make our mind up about what we thought had happened. The results came in and the whole team were really nervous. After glancing at the scores, we found out that our team had won. Everyone was really happy.

The day was great and I would really recommend it to everyone. From the festival I have learnt what stress feels like and how to communicate and persevere in a team. I really thank Queen Anne’s for making this festival possible for us to enjoy.”

On Thursday 19 March, there was a fascinating talk by Charlotte Walker, a marine biologist, on ocean acidification, which captivated the audience, consisting of U5 students and Sixth Formers.

The climax of the week was ‘Science Busking’ in the Quad on Friday 20 March. Lots of girls got stuck into a wide range and hands-on science activities, with a particular highlight being walking on custard! The Queen Anne’s Science Ambassadors, all members of the Sixth Form, were fantastic in helping to run the busking.

Members of the L4s  to U4s also entered the British Science Week National Poster Competition. This is an imaginative nationwide school competition to get pupils to think about the science that is around them in their local area. The best entries went forward to the national competition. The best Queen Anne’s entry was judged to be Romilly Hayward, with a fascinating poster about the science behind bricks.

Please find below for a slideshow of photographs from National Science Week at Queen Anne’s:

Created with flickr slideshow.

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