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!
Year 8 put their thinking and problem solving skills to use when they designed contraptions from junk to propel a tennis ball as far as possible. After much trial and error and many rolls of sticking tape, 8R’s ‘Ultimate Eggers’, Lewis McAuley, Luke Pollock, William Gilmore and David Dysart became this year’s champions; propelling their tennis ball an amazing 24m.
They were closely followed by ‘Popcorn’ from 8R, comprising Alicia Cooke, Megan Archibald, Oliver Doyle and Anna Wright; their tennis ball landed at 20.3m.
The ‘Jellybeans’ from 8T came a commendable 3rd place. Their team consisted of Archie McIntyre, Richard McGoogan, Tyler Laverty and Adam Taylor.
What a fun morning with lots of creativity and independent learning- the sun even shone!
On the 17th and 18th June 2013 Zoolab came to visit our school. Andy the ‘zookeeper’ introduced us to some amazing animals. He told us all sorts of interesting facts about the animals including where they came from, how they move and how they were able to survive in their habitat. The best part was definitely when we got to hold them!
The corn snake was a very popular choice. It was fascinating to watch it slither around. Its scales were smooth one way and rough in the other direction. It had lovely peach and red markings. Having never held a snake before, it was quite an unusual experience!
The cockroach felt quite tickly on your hand. We discovered that they eat bat poo and that if you stamp on them,the eggs stick to the sole of your shoe and spread wherever you walk. If you chop a cockroach in half it can still survive for 24hours.
A Tarantula’s hair is poisonous if it gets in your mouth, eyes or cuts. It was really good (and a bit scary!) to see a tarantula up so close.
We also found out that the largest stick insect is 3 foot long and that birds are very clever at getting crabs out of shells for a good meal; they carry them up into the air and drop them from a height- splat! Dinner is ready!
On Tuesday 12th March a group of Year 10 pupils set out for Macosquin Primary School Science Fair accompanied by Mrs Emerson. The Year 10 pupils had been asked to assist Key Stage 1 pupils with Science experiments ranging from measuring your pulse, matching constellations, floating and sinking and using a simple microscope. It was certainly a fun filled and action packed afternoon!
Year 9 Forensics Workshop
On Wednesday 20th June another murder mystery was solved in the Science Department at Dalriada. Year 9 were called in to become Forensic Scientists for a day. They analysed chemicals found on the suspects’ shoes, looked at fingerprints, footprints and fibres, set up chromatography experiments to match ink samples and researched the possible careers in the world of forensics. By 3.30pm the crime was solved. What did Year 9 think of this activity? Here are some of their views:
‘It was 100% better than Double Maths!’ Sophie Rollins 9R
‘It was really fun and I enjoyed it. It made me think and I liked making decisions and conclusions to decide who it was.’ Louise Wilson 9W
‘It was cool!’ Aaron Owens 9M
‘I really enjoyed this exercise. I thought it was entertaining and I would maybe consider a career in Forensics.’ Jack McMullan 9R
On Thursday the 5th of June and Friday the 6th of June the pupils of year 10 went to Leslie Hill estate to carry out some ecology fieldwork. The pupils were looking at the type of invertebrates that were found in the pond at the centre of the estate grounds. They used sweep nets to capture invertebrates from the top and bottom of the pond, these were identified and the number of each species counted. The slightly wet conditions did not dampen the enthusiasm of the pupils or affect the organisms found. The pond was dripping with interesting species from Greater Water Boatmen to Phantom Midge Larvae and one group found a Giant Water Scorpion, a large invertebrate that have never found there before.
On Tuesday 12th June Year 8 participated in the Annual Science Egg Race Challenge. Each group had to build a contraption out of junk to propel a tennis ball as far as possible. Many amazing contraptions were created and tested. Pupils took risks with their learning as they tweeked their designs to improve propulsion. The weather was kind and we managed to avoid any showers while measuring the propulsions! The winning teams will now compete in October in The Faraday Challenge which is a competition and workshop orgainised by The Institute of Engineering and Technology.
Science students from Dalriada have recently competed in the regional Irish Chemistry and Physics Olympiads at Queen’s University, Belfast. Laura Cull was awarded a Bronze Award for Chemistry and Ross Wakefield achieved a Silver Award for Physics. Ross will now participate in the second round of the competition. Success at this stage would confirm his place to represent Ireland at the International Physics Olympiad in Estonia. Five pupils also competed in the British Biology Olympiad with excellent success. Graham Cooper and Rachel Love were commended, Matthew Wray achieved a Bronze Award and Laura Cull came out tops with a Gold Award. Laura will now participate in the second round of this national competition to confirm her place on the British team at the International Biology Olympiad in Singapore.