Each time the QUICS project has a network training event, we have an associated school outreach event. As last week’s training was in Sheffield (UK), it was a good opportunity to give the outreach to younger children – all the other school outreach events take place in other European countries, so are aimed at older children who will speak some English.
A class of Year 4 (8-9 year old) children from Benjamin Adlard School in Gainsborough were invited to Sheffield to learn about the importance of water flows and quality in particular. The children were first taken to a nearby duck pond to collect some water samples before heading to the university to filter the samples and then analyse the filter papers under a microscope (we found some interesting creepy crawlies!). They also looked at dissolved oxygen concentrations, turbidity and pH, having the opportunity to try and get tap water to match the pH of the pond water by adding lemon juice or baking soda.
Perhaps the highlight of the lab work was the boat race where the children made and decorated paper boats before racing them down the teaching flume, which had some bricks added to create rapids! To keep it a bit technical we got them to calculate the speed of their boats as well.
At the end of the day they all went home happy and sent some great thank you notes, we seem to have encouraged some future engineers and scientists, even if some were as impressed by the pizza at lunch as the science!