S4 is currently running an intensive three-year program with over 500 young people from seven partner schools in South Wales. Each participant attends between three and six events every year on the Swansea University campus, taking part in hands-on, interactive science workshops in Bioscience, Chemistry and Physics.
In year two, participants attend five days: Sustainable Earth (autumn term 2019), Dependence on Nature (autumn term 2019), Space Day (spring term 2020), Exploring Electronics (spring term 2020) and Who are we? (summer term 2020).
Pupils will begin the day by learning about water resource management and how we can test for contaminants in drinking water. They will then explore renewable and non-renewable energy sources by investigating the Greenhouse Effect and exploring hydrogen as a fuel source. The day will end with a series of hands-on activities all about pollution, with a focus on the environmental impact of plastics.
Links to Science in the National curriculum for Wales (KS3)
Living sustainably is vital for life on Earth. Pupils will learn about the Greenhouse Effect and how burning fossil fuels for energy enhances the Greenhouse Effect, leading to global warming. We will then explore renewable energy sources and how emerging technologies such as hydrogen fuel cell cars can reduce human’s impact on the climate.
Next, pupils will discuss the importance of water as a resource and learn about how human activity pollutes water. We will explore water monitoring techniques by carrying out qualitative tests for anions commonly found in fertilisers.
After learning about climate change and air pollution we will discuss how plastic pollution has negative impacts on wildlife and the environment, focusing on ‘marine litter’. Pupils will have an opportunity to see how easy it is for animals to ingest plastic or to get stuck in it. They will discover plastic alternatives and make their own plastic free drinks pods like those used in the in the 2019 London Marathon.
Students will be exploring humankind’s relationship with and reliance on nature and the resources available to us. In biology, they will be learning about the importance of food webs and how some species perform vital ecosystem services. The physics workshop will be about radioactivity, what it is and how it can be useful or dangerous. In chemistry, the students will be getting familiar with amino acids, what they are, their structure, and why they are vital for proper function of all living organisms.
Links to Science in the National Curriculum for Wales (KS3)
Organisms living in ecosystems affect each other’s populations. One way they do this is through food webs. Students will learn how food webs describe the feeding relationships between different organisms, and how these interactions impact each species and the ecosystems they live in. Students will also be introduced to the concept of ecosystem services. Many species fill a specialised niche in their environments that can have a huge impact on the function of their ecosystems. For some species, such as bees, this can have a benefit to humans. Students will undergo two activities directly related to each of these topics, an owl pellet dissection and building bee hotels.
In previous workshops, students discovered that all things are made from atoms. In this workshop students will learn that these atoms can split apart, releasing particles and energy into the environment in a process called radioactive decay. They will investigate which objects give off radiation, the different types of radiation and how it may be useful or harmful to us and the environment.
Proteins are vital for living organisms to be able to grow and function properly. Students will learn about the structure of proteins, building their own models with wire. They will also learn about how the food we eat fuels our bodies’ need for protein, how protein is used by the body, and will discover which foods contain protein by testing them with biuret solution.