The winning team from our Y10 Willmott Dixon Enterprise day which took place in July, went on a construction site visit to Manchester University as part of their winning prize. They visited the Brunswick Park site and Schuster Building, which Willmott Dixon have been working at since last April.
It was interesting to see how all the planning and design had all come together to provide an impressive new £7.8 million state of the art physics department, complete with a modern lecture room for Professor Brian Cox to hold his physics lectures. The students got to meet the Construction Manager of the University, Simon and were shown round the site by Darrell, the Senior Build Manager and Apprentice, Bethany O’Neill, who was an excellent and enthusiastic role model for women in the construction industry. Bethany explained about the many different roles for women in construction and in particular her apprenticeship route as a Quantity Surveyor with Willmott Dixon. The students also got to see the Brunswick Park site which is going to be a lovely park area for the university students to walk through and saw the intricate laying of the Portugese style paving. The students asked lots of interesting questions and got to complete an online quiz about which sector in construction they would be most suited to. We would like to thank Willmott Dixon for putting together such an excellent site visit programme and for providing lunch.
The students all from 11-5 were: Oliva, Poppy, Diana, Imogen, Caitlin and Natasha.
On Thursday 19th October, we took 10 Year 9 students to Barclay’s annual ‘IT Girls Allowed’ event at Radbroke Hall. The event is put on each year to inspire young girls into the ever growing world of computing and technology.
The day began with a talk from a young female apprentice who works in Barclay’s cryptography team. From there, the 10 attending schools were spilt into three groups and headed off to their first activity for the day. For us, it was to program robots to manoeuvre around a course. In pairs, the girls set out to program their robots to firstly follow a solid back line course – similar to a self-driving car. After much programming and testing, we all managed to successfully manoeuvre around the tricky course. Following this, the robots had to use their inter-red sensors to move around a space with objects in the way – similar to the mars rover.
Activity two was to design the future. The challenge was set to design a new piece of technology, the most innovate three from each group to present their idea at the end. Christabell and Lois’ ideas took them through to the final in their group, taking home 1st and runner up prizes – with the first prize being an Amazon Kindle Fire!
The last activity of the day was cryptography, in which the girls work in their school groups to crack as many encrypted messages as possible. In the 20 minutes they had, the team managed to crack a staggering 45 messages, crowning them the winning team for the day.
An enjoyable and inspiring day was had by all. Once again, the girls doing the school proud.
On Thursday 12th October, Dr Hartwell from Liverpool University spoke to biologists about the problems we face in food production if global warming continues. He explained that his lab is attempting to genetically engineer crops to carry out alternative mechanisms for photosynthesis that have evolved in cacti, that allow crops to withstand droughts and produce a greater yield. After the talk, Dr Hartwell emailed school to compliment our sixth form students, saying “You should be very proud of such a bright set of students; they were asking questions that were comfortably at second year undergraduate level!“
Professor Roberts from Manchester University joined us on Wednesday for a fascinating talk about the challenges of antibiotic resistance and the current research to overcome these problems in the search for new ways to prevent diseases spreading. With so much in the news about the misuse of antibiotics and the lack of new sources, this talk was well attended by students, who were struck by the potential crisis the medical world faces if we cannot find new drugs for some very old bugs!
On Monday 9th October, all Y9 students received a talk from a Chester Zoo Safari Ranger. Marisa and Mike were both inspiring representatives from the zoo who answered questions about different careers in the zoo, animal conservation, illegal trade of animals and animal behaviour. The Y9 students were really well behaved throughout and asked lots of thoughtful, intelligent questions.
Thank you to everyone who entered the amazing Biology Bake Off competition! The standard this year was incredibly high and made it almost impossible to pick winners. Mrs Hulme and Mrs Clutton had a real challenge and after tasting all the entries decided on winners in different categories:
Most Inventive – Grace, Polina, Eva Hannah – brain on books
Scientific realism – Mimi, Connie, Alicia – red blood cell
Highest technical detail – Aaliyah, Sarah, Zara – plant cell, interior and exterior
Year 11 heard from a range of speakers who explained about the differences between 6th forms and colleges, college life and choices, the benefits of higher education, higher/degree apprenticeships and A-Level choices. We would like to thank Manchester College, Trafford Connexions, The Skills Company and Leeds University for coming into school to deliver the presentations. Year 11 also heard from 3 of our Y12/Y13 students about their particular experiences of choosing A-Level options. We hope that Year 11 feel they have been more informed about their post 16/18 options, which will enable them to make better decisions about their future.
On 4th October, the History Department were delighted to welcome back former history teacher and head of department, Joanna Williams, now the author of a new biography on Abel Heyward, former mayor of Manchester.
Joanna delivered a fascinating talk about her research and provided students with an interesting insight into the life and career of the radical mayor.
Following the warm reception given by our sixth form students, Joanna has offered to come back into school in the summer term to deliver a workshop based around her new research focus: Lydia Becker, a campaigner for women’s suffrage.
The next TED Talk will be shown on Tuesday 3rd October at 12.40pm. You are welcome to bring your lunch to eat.
Award Winning Teenage Science in Action – Lauren Hodge, Shree Bose and Naomi Shah (16:03)
In 2011 three young women swept the top prizes of the first Google Science Fair. Lauren Hodge, Shree Bose and Naomi Shah describe their extraordinary projects — and their route to a passion for science.