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Illusions, innovations and investigations

School News ·

British Science Week is a 10-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) which this year ran from 11-20 March.  To join in this important event that aims to inspire students in STEM subjects we ran special lessons for students in Years 7-9.

Lesson 1: Tricks of the mind

Students explored the power of our minds and how our brain uses rules it understands – that have been built up as we grow and experience the world – to tell us what we’re sensing.  Unfortunately, sometimes, it’s not right!

The students made an optical illusion called the Ames Window which demonstrated how our brain’s knowledge of perspective can sometimes trick us into seeing things incorrectly.

In the video above, the window appears to be swinging from left to right, but in actual fact it is spinning round and round.

How is the video below possible!??

This activity was linked to Dreamachine, an artwork created by a team of artists, scientists, philosophers and technologists and a composer that explores the power of our minds and how we all experience the world around us differently. Click to find out more about Dreamachine here.

If you like illusions, see more here –

Lesson 2: Become an eco-farmer (for 40 minutes)

In this lesson our students learnt about problems with intensive farming techniques. They then had the chance to don their virtual wellies and become an eco-farmer for an activity where they had to design their own eco-farm to help the planet while feeding the population. With a grant of £2000, they worked in pairs to figure out how best to create the most productive and profitable farm that had a beneficial impact on biodiversity.  It was trickier than it appeared, have a go yourself here – download ‘Design your own eco-farm sheet’

Eco farm design activity


Lesson 3: Cleaning up the planet

Students had a lesson learning about the problems with carbon emissions and how they have changed over the years. To help understand why emissions have increased they investigated the changes in transport over the last 40 years and considered what behavioural shifts are needed to help reduce our climate crisis. Using an interactive website, students had a go at creating their own net zero scenario by 2050 through various carbon cutting initiatives. Click here to have a go yourself at building a cleaner world.

Plus something for Year 10s: A crime scene investigation

As part of British Science Week, our Year 10s got to experience some elements of forensic science, a break from the regular physics, biology and chemistry sciences. Kendal College students came in to run a crime scene investigation workshop. The workshop involved fingerprint and ballistics analysis. The culmination of the workshop was a staged crime scene where students had to figure out the culprit.

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