Category Archives: Issue 12

Issue 12

Senior Physics conference – July 13 2017

The Trafford Ogden Partnership is just over a year old and AGGS is proud of its status as the Ogden hub school. Like all of the partnerships sponsored by the Ogden Trust, its aim is to “make physics matter”, and brings together physics departments from local schools. We decided to finish the academic year with a day’s celebration of physics and to show Y12s some possible “destinations” provided by their A level physics.

The venue for this event was Altrincham Grammar school for Boys’ spectacular Physics centre and presenters were asked to lead a 30 minute activity as opposed to delivering a lecture.

Several of the presenters were recent AGGS students who were “gently” persuaded to come along and with their stories of: research at CERN, using neutrino detectors to monitor and prevent developing countries building nuclear weapons, building stable structures and polymer research. Maria Violaris and Clarissa Costen provided a Q and A session about studying physics at Oxford, and gave a talk on entropy. Tamzin Owen demonstrated a cloud chamber using dry ice and Kerry Abrams provided a hands-on activity about extruding polymers.

There was a local theme with Salford’s Acoustic Engineering Department being represented by Professor Trevor Cox who demonstrated some cutting edge sound technology used by the media. The Graphene Centre at Manchester University sent along two PhD researchers, Georgia Kime and Fiona Porter, who showed how this material will change the future. Professor Ian Morrison from Salford explained how important hydrogen will become as a future fuel. Paige-Marie from Cavendish Nuclear led a discussion group on the vital subject of assessing and limiting risk in nuclear power stations.

Lloyd Cawthorne introduced students to the Isaac Physics website which aims to develop problem solving skills on-line. Some of the girls from AGGS had met Lloyd at the physics master class in Cambridge earlier this academic year.

The Institute for Research in Schools, already familiar to several AGSB students (who have plans to launch a particle detector by balloon), was introduced to the wider Trafford audience.

Other presenters were: Dave Cotton (astrophysics), Laura Thomas (IRIS), Laurie McClymont (CERN), Jen Wilson (spectroscopes); Toby Lord and Clive Humphries (Civil engineering and structures.)

The day ended with Dr Kerry Abrams (ex AGGS) talking about her educational journey from abandoning A level studies, through FE with young children, study for degrees and now a post at Sheffield University in materials, with a consistent love for learning.

The whole event was extremely well received by the 120 or so participants and there was a real buzz in the atmosphere during the event with students getting to know each other and getting involved in the activities. The water rocket launches were particularly well received. Some quotes from students were “engaging, challenging, inspiring”; “I had a really good day; I was able to talk to current people in STEM careers, met like-minded people and had an insight into A2 physics, as well as participating in fun challenges”.


Raza Nisar
AGGS physics department

Eurovision 2017

Eurovision 2017
Eurovision 2017

On Monday 17 July, all year 8 students took part in the annual MFL Eurovision competition. This involves learning a song in French, German and Spanish and performing it from memory. The standard of the competition was very high, with wonderful costumes, great singing and some very impressive choreography. The acts were interspersed by some performances from our year 10 language leaders and our year 12 language students. 8-2, representing Spain, were crowned winners for their performance of Alvaros Soler’s El Mismo Sol. Congratulations to all our participants! ¡Felicidades! Gut gemacht! Félicitations!

Eurovision 2017
Eurovision 2017
Eurovision 2017
Eurovision 2017
Eurovision 2017
Eurovision 2017
Eurovision 2017
Eurovision 2017
Eurovision 2017
Eurovision 2017
Eurovision 2017
Eurovision 2017
Eurovision 2017
Eurovision 2017
Eurovision 2017
Eurovision 2017

Manchester University Physics trip

By Lucy W 8-4

Manchester University is prided as being one of the best for physics in England and their labs rumoured to be phenomenal; luckily for us at AGGS we were given the chance to visit on the 20th June. Two students from each form with an interest in science – specifically physics – rendezvoused at reception at 8;30 am before setting off in a trundling bundle of a mini-bus clad in casual clothes with small rucksacks on our backs.

Sitting in the bus, noses buried in magazine articles about string theory and LQT, we rode to the university where we were greeted and joined forces with Stretford and Well acre. We were split into groups (I was in a group with three others, Kitty, Christabel and myself – we had yellow stickers with silver drones on our chests). We were given an introductory lecture where we discussed engineering’s effect on history including the epidemic of cholera 200 years ago resulting in the development of reservoirs to extinguish the threat of dirty water in a very controversial campaign on their behalf before moving on to the cost of the life of lighting and how it changed: the early 1800s where 1 hour of work gave you 10 minutes of candle light explaining (in a way) the common illiteracy rate to today where 1 hour at the minimum wage produces 3 years of life on an LED. Thanks to engineers.

Manchester University Physics Trip
Manchester University Physics Trip – First task

Our first task consisted of debating and pooling our answers to the questions: “What have you used electricity for today?” and “How have engineers improved your life today?” resulting in a variety of answers: for the first, electric utensils, devices, projectors traffic lights and more; for the second, there was plumbing, travel, infrastructure, medicine, electronics and even food among other things to demonstrate how much engineers do. After all, everything man-made was touched by an engineer in some way in its path to perfections – the career is immense.

Secondly, we received some equipment: a boiling tube, some wire, a voltage metre and a magnet then told to produce a voltage. Through this experiment we demonstrated Faraday’s law of magnetic induction whereby cutting the lines of a magnetic field with an electric current creates a voltage and that voltage increases in a variety of ways: using a more powerful magnet, increasing the

Manchester University Physics Trip
Manchester University Physics Trip, Second task with equipment

magnet’s speed, adding more coils to the wire or condensing the wire coils as all this means the field is being sliced more lines at a faster rate. To demonstrate this phenomenon, we wrapped the wire around the boiling tube and connected it to the metre before moving the magnet within the wires. We could also have done it vice versa by moving an electric current with in the magnet. We varied several factors such as type of magnet placing and shape of the wires and the way we moved the magnet before reaching volts from 120 to 150 by the end.

Afterwards, we engaged in some very stimulating conversations about careers, science and ethics with the STEM ambassadors as we discussed their qualifications, inspiration, career path and interest. They were emphatic and eager to debate answers for all our questions. Their enthusiasm I found inspiring paired with their knowledge and made me consider jobs in engineering I’d never thought of – they happily introduced themselves and explained their different fields with enrapture and understanding. Interviewing professionals was exciting as well as educating; we left with a rejuvenated and happy curiosity.

Manchester University Physics Trip
Manchester University Physics Trip – another experiment

Lunch followed and soon it was back to experiments: demonstrating and discovering the factors effecting the voltage produced by a wind turbine. Firstly, we varied the angles of our instruments: the blades, the fan and turbine. Moreover, we reduced and increased and then varied the size of the blades before concluding that the more blades the better however if the weight is increased too much then the turbine wouldn’t spin. The same goes for their size as the bigger the blade the better for catching the wind but the weight could hold it down. Also, the opportune angle would be 45 degrees as at 90 the wind does not glance off and push it around despite hitting it full force and 0 does not catch wind at all whereas 45 is the perfect middle ground; however, I could understand why engineers decided to settle with fewer big blades despite by conclusions.

Manchester University Physics Trip

Overall, the trip was an immense success: we learnt about things we most likely won’t learn this year or maybe next and sent us away with our minds buzzing with questions and answers in a call and response fashion. I personally came away asking myself whether I was sure with what I wanted to do in the future and what engineers will do next. Well, I guess we can only wait.

LAMDA Examinations

LAMDAThis week, 75 students in years 7 to 9 undertook their LAMDA examinations at school over two days. Depending on the year group, students did grade 3, 4 or 5. They were expected to perform a piece of prose and poetry to the examiner and had to answer theoretical questions about both texts.

Well done to all involved – we shall find out the results in September!

Cyberbullying Dance and Drama Project

CyberbullyingOver the course of the summer term, year 9 students have been working on a cross-curricular dance and drama project on the issue of cyberbullying. Their task has been to devise a performance which includes both disciplines and aims to teach a year 7 audience about cyberbullying – encouraging the audience to consider the problems with misusing social media and the impact that this can have.

The pieces were then performed in front of year 7 and were a real success. Year 9 were incredibly creative in the various ways they chose to share their message on cyberbullying and students imaginatively used music, lighting costumes and props to enhance their performance. Well done year 9 and thank you for being a great audience year 7!

Wilmott Dixon Enterprise day – What would be your ideal school!

Y10 Enterprise - Willmott Dixon

We have been very fortunate that Willmott Dixon agreed to deliver a second Enterprise day to the whole of Year 10 on Friday 14th July.
“The Willmott Dixon enterprise day is designed to encourage employability skills, whilst highlighting curriculum links to the construction industry”.

During the morning the groups completed 3 team building tasks and were awarded points not only for the result but also how well they communicated together and worked as a team. The points were then totalled and this was then used to work out their budget for the build of a new school.

Each group had to calculate how many classrooms they needed; receptions, staff rooms, sports facilities; swimming pool etc. They then used the costing sheets to calculate how much their school would cost. It was a very fraught day especially when disaster struck at lunchtime and they had to spend £5,000,000 in order to fix the problem.

Each of the groups had to present their ideas to the judges and an overall winner was chosen. The winning group were Caitlin Dennehy, Natasha Devbhandari, Diana Gibbons, Imogen Gordon, Poppy Hall and Olivia Davey-Bashir from 10-5. Next term they will have the opportunity to visit a building in Manchester which is currently being constructed by Willmott Dixon. This will be a fantastic opportunity to see the range of career opportunities and progression paths available in the construction industry.

We look forward to working with Willmott Dixon again next year as it was a fantastic day and all of the students enjoyed it but more importantly they not only built on their enterprise skills but also learnt about possible career paths.

Year 10 Computing visit to UKFast

Y10 Computing visit to UKFast, July 2017
Y10 Computing visit to UKFast, July 2017

GCSE Computing students visited UKFast this term to experience working life in a multi-award winning digital business. It’s a business renowned for its innovation and fun culture as well as being one of the UK’s leading cloud hosting and colocation firms. UKFast was launched and founded in a back bedroom in 1999 by Lawrence and Gail Jones (Gail is a former AGGS student).

The visit involved a tour of their state of the art office and gave career tips and ideas from experts to help our students prepare a career for the future. UKFast are always looking for talent and they want to encourage more females into their business. They offer work experience placements and a number of Year 10’s are hoping to get the chance to experience working there.
And of course they had the chance to go down the infamous UKFast slide!

Y10 Computing visit to UKFast, July 2017
Y10 Computing visit to UKFast, July 2017
Y10 Computing visit to UKFast, July 2017
Y10 Computing visit to UKFast, July 2017

Year 9 – Rymans National Enterprise Final

The National Enterprise Challenge
The National Enterprise Challenge

The 2017 Ryman National Enterprise Challenge final was held at The International Centre, Telford on Tuesday 4th July. The event saw the winning teams from over 120 schools come together to compete against each other. High street retailer and stationery giant, Ryman set students the task of creating an app for Ryman’s. The students had to convince the panel that the app can engage with Rymans customers and also create revenue, increase brand awareness or improve the customer service. The Study Room from 9-1 who consisted of Sarah, Natasha, Anna, Khadeejah, Eloise and Mary represented the school and did themselves and the school proud. They were chosen as one of the four schools out of fifty-five

The National Enterprise Challenge
The National Enterprise Challenge

to present their pitch to a packed auditorium including Theo Paphitis! Unfortunately they weren’t crowned the overall winners but Sarah Wide was awarded the KS3 most enterprising student and was given a framed certificate and two passes to Alton Towers.

The students had a good day as the event was hosted by children’s TV legends Sam and Mark. There was a guest speech from Jo Clarke – Olympic Gold medallist in kayaking – who came to the finals to tell his story first hand and to show the students that if you want something enough – then anything really is possible – “Hard work and dedication pays off”. Theo Paphitis headed up the judging panel and hosted a Q&A with the students – “Be inspired by everything around you, use everything as inspiration”.

Well done to Sarah, Natasha, Anna, Khadeejah, Eloise and Mary – we have definitely got some budding entrepreneurs within the school.

The National Enterprise Challenge
The National Enterprise Challenge
The National Enterprise Challenge
The National Enterprise Challenge
The National Enterprise Challenge
The National Enterprise Challenge

Year 10 Careers Day & Practice Interviews

Y10 Careers Day
Y10 Careers Day
Y10 Careers Day, An Inspirational Talk by Alex Thorpe, an AGGS Alumnae
Y10 Careers Day, An Inspirational Talk by Alex Thorpe, an AGGS Alumnae

On Friday, 7th July we invited volunteers into school to conduct practice interviews with our Year 10 pupils as part of their Careers Day.

The day started off with an inspirational talk from one of our Alumnae, Alex Thorpe who works in marketing for VIMTO drinks. This was followed by a CV writing skills session, a session with the RAF and Army and a workshop delivered by our Connexions Adviser on labour market information.

Y10 Careers Day, Interviews
Y10 Careers Day, Interviews

Throughout the day, year 10 were having practice interviews with volunteers from Barclays Bank, Tesco, Unilever, St.Mary’s Hospital to name a few and many of

whom were parents. We are extremely grateful to them for kindly giving up their busy working day to interview our pupils. The interviews were an introduction to ‘real life’ interviews which gave the girls an insight into the world of work.

Y10 Careers Day, Interviews
Y10 Careers Day, Interviews

To attach a sense of reality and importance to the day, the girls were asked to come into school wearing smart business attire. There were some very smart young ladies indeed, who would have been readily employed by our interviewers! We received many comments from the interviewers complimenting the pupils on their high standard and quality of responses to questions.

Y10 Careers Day, RAF and Army Session
Y10 Careers Day, RAF and Army Session

MFL Poetry Success

Trisha and Sophie - MFL Poetry competition Winners
Trisha and Sophie – MFL Poetry competition Winners

We are delighted to announce that Sophie H and Trisha S won the KS4 category of  the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition at a National Celebration of the MFL poetry event at MMU.

Trisha and Sophie have been invited to read out French poems which they wrote and entered for the competition at MMU. We were only allowed to enter four poems, so to have two being read out and winning awards is a great achievement.  The students wrote their poems unaided.

They were interviewed by That’s Manchester TV, and were very impressive by the natural way they talked to the interviewer.  As is to be expected, Sophie and Trisha were a credit to the school in their behaviour and in what they said to people during the proceedings.

See below the interview on That’s Manchester TV news (There is a bit about book benches first – the poetry starts at about 1 min 5 sec):