Friday 15 April 2016 saw a team of four pupils from Year 10-12 set off, accompanied by Mr R Johnston and Mrs H Millar from the Chemistry Department, to compete in the UK National Finals of the RSC ‘Top of the Bench’ Competition being held at Loughborough University. Ellen Gilmour, Auriel Guarino (both Year 10), Sarah Hadden (Year 11) and Eason Chan (Year 12) had competed at the Regional finals of the competition held at Queens’ University Belfast in January where they were successful in winning the honour of representing Northern Ireland at the UK Finals. This was only the second time that the school had entered a team in this prestigious competition which is organised annually. Read More
A team of four pupils, Ellen Gilmour, Auriel Guarino (both Year 10), Sarah Hadden (Year 11) and Eason Chan (Year 12) travelled to Belfast to participate in the regional finals of the prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry competition ‘Top of the Bench’ where they emerged victorious. The pupils had to complete a practical task in the laboratory which demonstrated their team work and problem solving abilities before enduring two different rounds of questioning which tested the content of the GCSE specification and their general chemistry knowledge. Congratulations on being not just top of the class but top of the bench! The team received individual prizes and will now represent Northern Ireland at the UK National finals in Loughborough University on Saturday 16th April 2016. Mark Collins, Chair of the RSC Local Section who organised the heats, described the team as consistently excellent throughout the night and worthy winners! We wish the team every success as they prepare for the finals of the competition.
Wednesday 14th October saw forty Year 11 pupils board a bus and travel to the University of Ulster, Coleraine. The UUC School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences had organised their annual ‘Chemistry at Work’ Exhibition. Exhibitors from different Global Pharmaceutical companies all based in Northern Ireland were represented (Almac, Nicobrand, Norbrook, Randox and Warner-Chilcott), the University’s Department of Environmental Studies and then the Pharmacy Department itself which has been voted top of the League Tables for the past two years. Each presenter outlined their area of work, a little bit about how they got there and explained different aspects of Chemistry within what they do. The students were impressed by the global nature of the companies represented and the large sums of money involved in the Pharmaceutical industry. The Pharmacy Department outlined some of the practical work that their undergraduate students complete in the laboratory e.g. how much water does a nappy hold? You might be surprised to know that it is an incredibly large volume…about one litre in fact. Following the exhibition the students enjoyed ‘Scientific Sue’ and her ‘Crazy Chemistry Show’. She explored lots of different aspects of chemistry and there were plenty of explosions in her show. She was accompanied by dragons of various sizes…all toys of course…which she made fly, breathe smoke and even fire. There was plenty of audience participation and it was great fun to see how the students reacted when there was a loud explosion or there was something messy happening! We would like to thank the University for organising the event and the school for facilitating attendance at it. The students came away with plenty of information regarding employment opportunities in this sector and how the Chemistry they study in class impacts on our everyday lives from nappies to Sudocrem!
Year 8 have been busy using their problem solving skills, making decisions, taking risks and working with others to design contraptions made from junk that could throw a tennis ball as far as possible. Hayden Feeney, Harry Condell, Ross Anderson and Eoghan Maginn from team RHHE Slingers (8R)produced a catapult design with a winning throw of 28m. James Wright, Caleb Moore and Daniel Beckett from team Raiders (8R) came second with a superb 26.6m throw. Team Arbre, consisting of Sarah Liggett, Olivia McAleese , Lois Mc Fetridge and Mrs Bolster(8W) gained third place with their throw of 16.5m. Well done to all who participated. We have many potential engineers in this year group with excellent design skills. On the design side special mention must go to Erin McMullan, Benny Mitchell, Hollie Scott and Eva Mc Caughan from 8R and Callum Conway, Jed Owens, Joshua Hazlett and Andrew McKay from 8S, for some excellent designs and very creative ideas!
Congratulations to Christopher Surgeoner as he has recently been awarded a British Science Foundation Gold CREST Award for research that he completed during the summer on a Nuffield Research Placement. Christopher completed his project on High Voltage Circuit Breakers in conjunction with NIE and the conclusions from his research are now being put into practice. He thoroughly enjoyed his placement experience and would highly recommend this invaluable opportunity to anyone wishing to follow a STEM related career.
On Wednesday 22nd October twenty six Year 11 pupils attended the Chemistry @ Work exhibition hosted by the Pharmacy Department at the University of Ulster, Coleraine. This event is organised annually to promote the study of Chemistry and show students how the chemistry studied in school is relevant in the world of work and industry. A number of global pharmaceutical companies are based here in Northern Ireland and it is a wonderful opportunity for our students to see the career opportunities that exist!
Year 8 have been busy planning and designing contraptions to propel a tennis ball as far as possible.
On Friday 20th June the contraptions were built and perfected for the competition. For once we were bathed in sunshine as we measured the distances covered out behind the Sports Hall. Year 8 are to be congratulated for their creativity and ingenuity! The winners were ‘The Tankatrons’ in 8M comprising Mark McNeill, Peter McConaghie, James McCormick, James Currie and Jensen Daley with a winning throw of 31.7 m. The Rainbows from 8M were in second place with a throw of 19m and third place was awarded to The B Team from 8W.
On Monday 16th June 2014 Terence Finnegan returned to school to enthral and inspire Year 8 and Year 9 pupils with his ‘Learn differently’ Science presentations. In ‘Chemical Connections’ he demonstrated how to make a pig fly; we also witnessed many bangs and fizzes and discovered the chemistry behind the absorbancy of nappies.
On Thursday 27th February 2014 Dalriada welcomed STEM ambassadors from local business and Science related professions to give Year 12 pupils an insight into the world of work. Pupils caught a glimpse of how their school work today can be applied to real situations in the world of work. Matt Johnston from Digital Circle demonstrated the opportunities in the software and gaming industry. John Armstrong from Armstrong Medical explained how he developed his very successful global company from his garage. Johnathan Harkness enlightened us to recent developments in Maine Soft Drinks. Richard Bell, Steven McDonald and Wendy Hyland related their experiences in Biomedical Science and Medical Physics. Julie Campbell explained the importance of mapping the sea bed when drilling for oil. Paul Jonhston emphasised the importance of living in a sustainable environment. Eddie Murphy showed students a wide variety of materials specifically chosen for building buses at Wrightbus. Thank you to all our participants for a very inspirational afternoon!
Four of our best chemists from Year 10,11 and 12 competed in the an interschools Royal Society of Chemistry,’Top of the Bench’ competition at Queen’s University, Belfast. The team had to tackle a variety of questions which ranged from naming apparatus, identifying famous scientists and balancing chemical equations. The team excelled at the particularly entertaining dingbats round. Well done to all involved!