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North Wyke wins prize at National Science and Engineering Week

14 April 2011

Researchers at North Wyke won the Outstanding Contribution Award at the British Science Association National Science & Engineering Week in March. North Wyke was awarded £800 to put towards their events for next year's Science and Engineering Week.

© North Wyke

Children from 8 local primary schools visited North Wyke over a three day period where they participated in 5 different 'hands on' workshops. North Wyke has been running events during National Science and Engineering Week for well over 10 years.

Tom Horner, the judge said: "The quality of our finalists' events this year was very high indeed. At Rothamsted however, I was particularly impressed with the variety of activities on offer, the combination of "real science" and fun activities and the personal contributions made by staff outside their remits. It also struck me what a valuable contribution your week made in exposing local children to science. I think you provide a unique and invaluable service to the local community."

Patricia Butler, who organised the event said: "We are very proud to have won the 'Outstanding Contribution' award from the British Science Association for the 2011 Science Fair. The North Wyke Science Fair is an opportunity for children to meet 'real' scientists and to have fun with science and hopefully gain a much more positive view of science. We have had some wonderful feedback again this year, so we hope that we can keep providing these opportunities in the future."

The five workshops were:

  • 'What is in your water?' run by Tegan Darch, a PhD student at North Wyke, challenged the children to measure the concentrations of different chemicals in water
  • 'Bugs can be engineers' run by Jennie Williams, a PhD student at North Wyke working with David Hogan, Environmental Consultant , showed children different soil structures and the invertebrates that live beneath the soil
  • On 'Rocks can bend!' run by Steve Granger, a PhD student at North Wyke, children learned about how sedimentary rocks are formed and made their own plaster casts of fossils to take home
  • 'Sounds like fun' was run by Alison Rivett from the Institute of Physics and undergraduate physicists from the University of Exeter. The workshop enabled the children to investigate and experiment with sound and to make musical instruments that they could take away
  • 'Hands On Science' with Peter Bidewell was a workshop about rockets where the children built their own rockets and then went out in the garden to fire them

Mrs Butler continued: "95% of children gave us the 'thumbs up' for the event and 80% thought of science as 'good or better' following it. The children especially liked making their own musical instruments, though I suspect these weren't as popular with the teachers on the coaches home!"



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