Ullswater Community College (UCC) in Penrith has been exciting primary school pupils from across Eden in a series of science taster days. Helping get the right ingredients for the experiments were the Lakes Free Range Egg Company and the Penrith Sainsbury’s store.
Over 440 Year 5 pupils from 26 primary schools around Eden visited UCC, having the opportunity to discover more about science, the school and their labs. The hope is to encourage future applications for secondary school places and ignite a passion for science. The students took part in two experiments based around a ‘space explorer’ theme, which this year has more poignancy with the recent galactic adventures of Major Tim Peake.
Science Taster Week was also a ‘back to school’ moment for Alison Morton from Sainsbury’s and Helen Brass Co-owner and Company Secretary at the Lakes Free Range Egg Company. Both businesses collaborated to provide the ingredients and support for the science days.
Science sessions included identifying ‘DNA’ in strawberries and creating a prototype shuttle that would land scientists on the planet. The experiments use eggs to replicate an astronaut who is travelling back to earth using a shuttle. Teams built a shuttle and parachute using as little material as possible, but still needing to provide a soft and safe landing for the astronaut when launched towards earth from the school balcony!
As well as supplying the ingredients, Helen Brass and Alison Morton took part, naming their team the ‘Lakesbury’s Free Rangers’ and joined pupils from Stainton C of E Primary School at the launch pad. Helen Brass said “It was lovely to see so many youngsters getting inspired. It was nice to work alongside pupils from our village – they helped us plant trees last autumn.
“The children really connected with this science experiment, mainly because Mr Davidson, Head of Chemistry, was so enthusiastic, but also because the coverage of Major Tim Peake returning from outer space has had many school children enthralled. He travelled at 17,000 mph but we know our egg astronauts fell to earth a lot slower.”
Alison Morton from Sainsbury’s said “The session was well thought out; pupils had various choices of lightweight materials, the aim was to be efficient and economical with material, wasting as little as possible – a good lesson for recycling and sustainability. Sainsbury’s core values include respect for our environment so we constantly look at packaging and minimising waste in our quest to be the greenest retailer. In school today, the proof of the ‘minimal packaging’ success was in the astronaut launches; the teams did well – over 50% of the egg astronauts survived the landing.”
Continuing with the sustainability theme, The Lakes and Sainsbury’s provided everyone with a recipe leaflet highlighting on how to cook an easy frittata – making the most of leftovers and eggs.
Head of Key Stage 3 Science and UCC Science Teacher Alex Ford, who organises the event, said “This is the second time we have worked with The Lakes Free Range Egg Company and Sainsbury’s, we appreciate their support and are grateful to the Lakes for providing us with a free supply of eggs. We still have their sustainability model displayed on the wall in the science lab from last time and it is often brought into discussions.
Chatting to Helen it’s evident that there are numerous links and opportunities. They’re a great company to help demonstrate how economics, science, and sustainability all work together in business, even in areas like IT where we could explore how advanced technology makes the egg collection and packing process more efficient. A field trip may be in order.”
In total there were 26 primary schools, 444 primary pupils, the primary staff and three external adults taking part in Science Taster Days in an action packed six day event.