Category Archives: Science

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

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.

Year 12 – School Physicist of the Year award

Jorja, Y12, School Physicist of the year awardCongratulation to Jorja K from Year 12 who won the School Physicist of the Year award. This is an annual, UK-wide award scheme sponsored by the Ogden Trust and are presented at the University of Manchester.

Each year teachers are invited to nominate their “best” Year 12 physics student. The student put forward by each school receives a School Physicist of the Year award from the Ogden Trust, consisting of a £25 book token and certificate presented at an evening event at the University of Manchester (Thursday 6th July). Receiving a SPOTY award will also qualify the student for the Ogden alumni association, which will give them chances for internships and other schemes if they go on to study physics at university http://ogdentrust.com/alumni-association

Engineering Day

Engineering Day, June 2017
Engineering Day, June 2017

On Thursday 70 year 8 students spent the day as engineers. They first learnt about how our growing human population means non-renewable resources will run out and we need to think of creative ways to generate enough energy without impacting any more on the environment. They used the knowledge they had gained to recommend a source of energy for a particular country. Then in teams they spent time building and charging a solar powered car with which to race against the other teams. This took much alteration of the components and design for it to work effectively and they showed great teamwork skills. At the end of the day the winning teams’ car went so far it had to be turned round at the end of the racetrack! The students involved had a great time and we hope they may be inspired to think about engineering as a future career.

STEM Club’s 10 Beautiful Chicks

STEM Club Chicks
STEM Club ChicksSTEM club have worked long and hard to raise money to hatch some eggs in school. Ten eggs arrived on Monday along with an incubator, a brooder and all the food and bedding required. Our first hatch was on Tuesday and the last on Thursday. For the first time ever we have had 100% success rate and now have 10 beautiful chicks; 2 boys and 8 girls. Some students have even been lucky enough to witness a hatching. We are investigating at what age they lose their egg tooth and what age they start getting feathers. We are also weighing them daily to see if the boys and girls grow at different rates. The chicks will stay with us for another week before returning to live on a free-range farm. Earlier in the year we ran a competition to name the chicks and the lucky winners will be announced next week.
STEM Club Chicks

 

 

 

 

2017 Chemistry Olympiad Success!

Gold Award to Rebecca on the Chemistry Olympiad Success 2017
Gold Award to Rebecca on the Chemistry Olympiad Success 2017

Royal Society of ChemistryThis year we had six enthusiastic Year 13 students taking part in the competition, which involved them completing a two-hour written exam paper. The questions often posed much stimulate debate, and enthusiasm for chemistry – raising awareness of what the subject is all about. It provides a good opportunity to develop some of the skills required for study at university and beyond.
We are extremely pleased with the results that the students have achieved: Rebecca L achieved a Gold Award, and Charlotte O-P, Mahika D, Tokino T and Ellie E-W all achieved a Silver Award.

Well done and congratulations to them!

NASA Trip

The 22 students on the NASA Houston trip arrived safely back in Manchester at 10am on Sunday morning. They had been travelling for about 20hrs with flights from Houston to Amsterdam and then on to Manchester. Exhausted but elated having had such a terrific experience.

The students were excellent in the way they conducted themselves and our hosts at NASA were most complimentary.

Perhaps the highlight of the week was meeting Don Thomas, an astronaut who has flown on 4 missions into space. His talk was most inspiring.

Have a look at the range of activities they did on the trip at their blog:

NASA Trip Blog, February 2017
NASA Trip Blog, February 2017

http://wp.aggs.trafford.sch.uk/nasa2017

Eco Factor Competition Winners

Amelia and Zoe

Amelia G and Zoe G from Year 11 have won the School Eco Factor – Sustainability Schools Challenge, run by the University of Manchester. Their team was one of three to enter the competition form AGGS. Their project tackled the food waste issue.

Find out all about this on the SO Altrincham Newspaper