Cheltenham Science Afternoon

Five Year 6 pupils visited Cheltenham College for an inspiring afternoon of Science; here Samuel, Grayson, Angus , Ben and William recount their experience…

When we arrived, we were introduced to the Head of Science at Cheltenham College. We did the key areas of Science (Chemistry, Physics and Biology) and a STEM activity. From observing animal skulls to building rollercoasters and creating hydrogen, we experienced a wide range of science activities. It was great fun.



In the Biology laboratory, we had to dissect owl pellets. We learnt that owl pellets are undigested waste products and inform us about what owls feed on. They contained bones and skulls with fur on, which we had to clean off to reveal the bones in more detail. After we had carefully revealed the small skeletal parts, we put our best finds in a petri dish and were able to observe them under a microscope. We discovered two skulls, and we could see the teeth holes very clearly under the microscope. Overall, it was very interesting to see an owl’s diet and how they get rid of the bones they eat. We learnt that they particularly like to eat voles and mice.



I really enjoyed the Chemistry activities. One of my favourite experiments was the exploding bottle experiment. We had a small bottle with a stopper on the top, we took the stopper out and we put lemonade in it together with an Alka Seltzer tablet, we then put the stopper back on and turned it upside down. Next, we then waited for the lemonade to react with the Alka Seltzer tablet, and it released carbon dioxide causing the pressure to build up. When the stopper came out, the bottle flew up really high in the air splashing the ceiling with lemonade!



In the Physics laboratory, we explored a carousel of investigations. My favourite was investigating focal point: they had a projector set up, and it was projecting a picture of a beetle. We had to find the point where the beetle was the most clearly seen and then we measured how far away the board was from the projector. The next part of the investigation was to see at what point the beetle turned into an owl this was closer than the beetle’s focal point and again we measured how far the board was from the projector. Another of the investigations enabled us to study how mass affects speed in the medium of oil: the heavier the mass the slower it travelled through oil.



This activity was located in the main room (where we had snacks at the end of the day). There were structures of cubes with one by two, three blocks high and a two by three, two block high pushed together to make one big structure. Our challenge was to make a roller coaster using the tracks, as we added them on to the structure, we thought about the exchange of energies and the force of gravity to help us get a full circuit and get the carriage to do loop-the-loops! As we were with another school, we split into groups with replicas of the structure on various tables. Using the starting projectile to fire of the carriage, it went up a steep hill turned a horizontal corner and went flying off! I enjoyed this STEM activity the most.


A Mixture of Music at the Lunchtime Concert