British Science Week

Thu, 22 Apr 2021

Motivation, Inspiration and Determination; the key to achieving your goals. The past year has been one of goal achieving in areas of Science and Technology. Amongst developments in the pharmaceutical industry this year, there have been developments in provisional treatment for Malnourishment, Biotechnology and in Planetary Science with the landing of the rover on Mars earlier this year.

Here at Sandwell Academy, we were fortunate enough to spend the week of 8-12 March celebrating areas of Science, Technology, Maths and Engineering as part of British Science Week. Lessons looked a little different than usual this week, where students in years 7 -13 partook in a variety of activities to celebrate achievements in Science.

The week started off with celebrating the achievements of women in Science to mark International Women’s day on the 8 March. This was a very special day for one year group in particular, who experienced their first International Women’s Day here at Sandwell Academy. Students in Year 7 learned about the important discoveries that the likes of Rosalind Franklin and Marie Curie made, and why it is important that we collectively celebrate their historic achievements.

The students in the class were given a daffodil as this is the symbol of the Marie Curie Foundation. Marie Curie discovered radioactive substances which today help with the treatment for Cancer patients. Marie Curie was the first woman to achieve a Nobel Prize for her work. This sent the message that motivation, determination and hard work really is the key to success.

The week progressed with a talk from Stephen Seki, an inspirational speaker. We were privileged to have Stephen share his personal journey ‘Farmer to Pharmacist’, a story about a boy from poverty who achieved his dream, to prove that no dream is impossible. Students learned the importance of resilience, dedication and hard work.  One Year 10 student said, “I have learned that no matter what the consequences are I should never stop trying or working hard and I can achieve anything I put my mind to”.  Another Year 10 student said “I liked the amount of information provided about a wide variety of aspects such as poverty, university and not giving up. I have learned that whatever the challenges presented, face them and do not give up on your dreams”.

The week progressed with a talk from Astronaut Tim Peake, and Businessman and Entrepreneur Tim Campbell about the Astronaut’s journey to space and what it takes for young people to fulfil their potential. The talk was followed by students completing activities around Space. A Year 7 student said, “I liked taking part in the fun tasks on the subject, like how to remember the order of the planets to the sun. I liked the talk because the astronaut really told us the wonderful things in space and what happens up there. I learned that you have to learn all different languages to be on the space station and it is really tough to get up there”. Another Year 7 further added, “I liked the fact that Tim talked about his space experience so that us as students could feel and experience what it would be like, if we would want to be an Astronaut or just to be inspired by his journey. I have learned the qualifications you would need to have to be able to work in the Space Agency”.

Year 10 also had the pleasure of taking part in a Space themed webinar ‘How to get a job in the space industry’ where students learned that Space is not just for Astronauts; it takes a wide variety of people and skills to make space missions and projects successful. They learned about the careers available to young people in the space industry, what people do in their jobs day-to-day, the skills they use and their career path from school to their current job. Year 10 were lucky enough to hear from the National Space Academy and also had the chance to ask their own questions at the end of the session.

Mid-week, Year 9 participated in a streamed show from Medical Mavericks, where amazing facts were included with eight brilliant live demonstrations that Dr Tom performed on himself during the show. Highlights of the event included; taking a photo of the inside of a human eye, recording an ECG from a human heart, having a camera inserted into the nose and into the lungs with a bronchoscopy and scanning the heart and blood vessels in a human neck with an ultrasound. “I learned that there's an anomaly in some people's veins and they have split veins instead of just one”, said a Year 9 student. The event also showed some fascinating video footage of some of the tests carried out in hospitals across the UK, showing that you don’t just have to be a Doctor or Nurse to work as part of the NHS, a common misconception amongst young adults. Dr Tom finished his talk by showing students the variety of careers and pathways into the NHS.

As the week drew to a close, Year 8 took part in a virtual workshop where they had the opportunity to learn about the realities of processed food. Jon Wood, from the University of Birmingham shared: “Processed food gets a bad rap, yet pretty much everything we buy has been processed in some way”. Students enjoyed looking more closely at how homemade and industrial bread baking methods compare; examining everyday food packaging to investigate their foods and the small print that gives the clues away about the engineering processes and what ‘Packaged in a protective atmosphere’ actually means. A common theme of the session was that students were shocked to find that most lemons aren’t actually suitable for vegans. The session ended with a debate where students thoroughly enjoyed themselves. One student commented: “I liked to learn how food was processed and how there is a debate on why some people prefer organic food over processed food”.

A massive thank you from Mrs Zivkovic and Mrs Drummond to all students and staff that took part in the week’s events.

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