School kids head to British Science Festival

School kids head to British Science Festival

School children will be travelling from all over the north of Scotland to attend next month’s British Science Festival taking place in Aberdeen City and Shire.

The University of Aberdeen is hosting the September 4-9 extravaganza which is Europe’s foremost celebration of science, engineering and technology.

A major programme of events has been organised for secondary school students - the largest line-up of its kind for this age group in the north-east - with activities taking place at the University, Aberdeen College and Banff and Buchan College in Fraserburgh.

Banff and Buchan College is hosting events on Wednesday (Sept 5) and Thursday (Sept 6) for S1 and S2 pupils and the line-up includes sessions such as Real Life X-Men: the mutants are among us! which will separate fact from fiction regards DNA; The Incredible Machine which will use our knowledge of forces, friction, momentum, speed, acceleration and mass in an action-packed workshop; Sustainable Living which will use hands-on activities to explore issues around climate change and Open Your Mind which is an interactive journey through the workings of the nervous system. All activities are free and the number to book places is 08456 807 207.

Aberdeen Collegeis hosting sessions for students in S3 and S4 from Tuesday (Sept 4) to Friday (Sept 7) and organisers will work with schools to tailor a day of activity to suit school needs. Events include a presentation in what is the only permanent planetarium in the north of Scotland; a chemistry workshop which will give pupils the chance to analyse the nutritional content of food and a session where pupils will extract a sample of their own DNA. All activities are free and the number to book places is 01224 612235.

The University of Aberdeen is hosting 25 different events, some are aimed at S5 &S6 but most are also suitable for all secondary aged pupils, from Tuesday (Sept 4) to Friday (Sept 7). Events include a Digital Gaming Workshop that will help develop computer programming skills; Lunchbox 2030 that will include a look at potential foods of the future and tours of the University’s Institute of Medical Sciences and the Suttie Centre for Teaching and Learning.

The University is also hosting daily keynote talks that are open to all secondary aged pupils. On Tuesday space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock’s talk Do We Really Need Scientists will discuss the role of satellites in our everyday lives; on Wednesday tv presenter Michael Mosley, who has fronted a number of BBC science documentaries, will share his experiences and discuss how research impacts on our lives; on Thursday the University of Oxford’s Professor Keith Gull will give the annual microbiology lecture entitled The neglected infectious diseases of Africa – do we care and what can we do?, and on Friday renowned psychology expert Dr Peter Naish, whose interest in hypnosis and its impact on memory mean he is often asked to be an expert witness in court cases, will give the talk Our Amazing Brain. All activities are free and the number to book places is 08456 807207.

Dr Ken Skeldon, Head of Public Engagement with Research at the University of Aberdeen and co-chair of the Festival’s programming group, said: “We are thrilled to be offering such a huge and wide-ranging programme of activities during the British Science Festival for secondary children of all ages.

“This is a brilliant opportunity for secondary pupils and their teachers to hear at firsthand from a great spectrum of scientists, many of whom are hugely respected in their fields.”

Jill Burnett, Local Festival Co-ordinator and Events and Engagement Executive at the University of Aberdeen, added: “We are also delighted that Aberdeenshire Council is offering help with some of the travel costs for school buses travelling into Aberdeen from the Shire.

“While our events should interest all – not just those who fancy a career in science, engineering or technology – they might even spur some of our student visitors on to be the next Brian Cox or David Attenborough!”

See here for more information about the British Science Festival secondary programme.

The British Science Festival 2012 is being organised by the British Science Association, the University of Aberdeen and Techfest-Setpoint. The principal sponsors are BP and Shell U.K. Limited.