Hethersett Old Hall School (HOHS) blog – an independent day and boarding school near Norwich, Norfolk.

For girls and boys from Nursery to Sixth Form – discover the difference.


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STEM at HOHS: Army Corporal helps girls bring robots to life

Pupils from Years 7-10 and Year 12 took part in some exciting workshops last Friday delivered by Corporal Thomas Power from the Army’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) team.  After hearing about the wide range of STEM-related careers the Army offers, each girl was set a challenge: to modify and wirelessly programme a Lego Mindstorm robot to move around The Barn.  By the end we had dancing robots, robots that could follow a map trail or collect boxes from across the room, and even one with an axe ready to compete in robot wars!

See what the girls said, and scroll down to see images from the workshops.

“We didn’t  know the Army had so many jobs! At first it was really challenging to programme the robot but then we got the hang of it and it was really fun!” Anna, Cristina, Rachel and Fleur (Year 8)

“I did know that there were all those jobs in the Army – I just hadn’t realised that most of them are connected to STEM” – Ashlyn (Year 8)

  • Did you know…?

Women make up just 14.4% of all people working in science and technology roles in the UK, despite being about half of the workforce.  Is it because girls are less able in STEM subjects? No!  In fact, studies show that the opposite is true – but traditionally fewer girls than boys choose to study STEM subjects at A Level and beyond.  At HOHS we are dedicated to breaking this tradition and have an excellent track record of success in STEM subjects.  We regularly plan events such as the workshop last week, to give our girls inspiration and insight into the world of STEM careers.


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Year 9 hands-on science for CREST awards

Horses, gravity and smoking have been under scrutiny by Year 9 who have been exploring topics of their own choice for their science Bronze CREST awards.

On Friday the girls presented the results of their considerable research to fellow pupils, teachers and an external CREST assessor who all had the opportunity to ask plenty of questions!

CREST is a UK award scheme recognising success, building skills and demonstrating personal achievement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) project work.

 

How does gravity affect the tides? Is it the same on other planets? Taonga, Emilia and Harriet took a detailed look at the force which affects us all

With a keen interest in matters equestrian, Ellie and Emily decided to explore aspects of selective breeding and the physiology of horses as well as the evolution of equines.

Smoking – Mia and Kitty looked at some of the science behind the effects of smoking


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Can Science Solve the World’s Problems?

This was one of the top agenda items at the GSA Girl Power conference in Cambridge on Wednesday. The event saw twelve of our seniors from Years 11-13 join with pupils from many other schools to hear a range of women scientists and engineers speak about their careers. This year’s theme was “ STEM solutions towards a sustainable world” and the aim is to get girls to “think big, think
future, think global and think sustainable”.

Year 11 pupils Laura and Filly (Philippa) told me: “It was really great, interesting…inspiring, actually. We learned a lot about marine ecology, astronomy and sensory design. We heard all the morning speakers – and there were many! – plus we attended a breakout session in the afternoon by Dr Jenny Tillotson about eScent sensory design. Standout speaker? For us, that would have to be the design engineer, Yewande Akinola. She was amazing and really engaged with everyone in the lecture theatre. Thank you Miss Mann and Dom for planning this trip and taking us.”
Liz French, Editor

 


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Year 1 doing a spot of pond-dipping!

Our Year 1 pupils spent some exciting time exploring our eco-friendly pond during their science lesson yesterday. It is amazing how many different creatures make this their home! The sorts of things we expect to find there include water boatmen, spotted damselflies and pond skaters – and if we’re lucky, frogs!

Mrs Bird


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How do chameleons change colour? Alia, Sophie and Issy find out…

In our final look at  the science topics chosen by our Year 9 girls for their Bronze CREST awards we see Alia, Sophie and Issy exploring animal adaptations. What changes go on in the cells of a chameleon when it camouflages itself by changing colour? How does a ‘mimic octopus’ know what creature to impersonate to get out of danger, and how does it do it? These and many other questions were explored by the girls, who told me, “We found out so much! It is great to be able to choose your own topic for CREST… we chose this because we all like animals and thought this would be fascinating and have lots of different aspects.” The girls also said they enjoyed working as a team and developing their presentation and research skills.
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Could there really be a zombie apocalypse? Rosamaria, Faith-Marie and Sophie investigate…

Regular readers of our blog will know that we have been looking at Year 9’s exploration of science topics they chose for themselves for their Bronze CREST awards. Rosamaria, Faith-Marie and Sophie decided to look at whether a zombie apocalypse could really happen and what to do to survive one. Now, we know that scientifically, there is no possible way that the dead could spring forth from their graves, but the girls’ research did lead them to some fascinating cannibalism-related facts; for example:

We have all heard of mad cow disease – a neurological brain disorder brought on by feeding cow bone meal back to cows, essentially making them cannibals. “But we found out there is a human disease called Kuru which is basically the same thing but happens to people,” said the girls. Kuru is also known as laughing sickness due to the pathologic bursts of laughter people would display when afflicted with the disease. It is now widely accepted that Kuru was transmitted among members of the Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea via cannibalism – making it the closest thing to the zombie scenario featured in so many popular films.

“Working on the CREST award was interesting because we developed our independent skills and were able to go into things in more depth,” the girls explained.
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Why is chocolate bad for dogs? Caitlin and Rebekah take a look…

Regular readers of our blog will know that we have been looking at Year 9’s exploration of their chosen science topics for the Bronze CREST awards. Caitlin and Rebekah decided to look at chocolate – how it is made and how it affects our brain.

“One of the many things we discovered about chocolate is is that there’s quite a lot of the chemical theobromine in it,” they said, “and that can kill dogs if they have too much of it. Another interesting fact is that chocolate – or, at least, the cocoa bean it is made from –  used to be worshipped as a god by Mayan Indians of Mexico 1500 years ago!”

CREST is a UK award scheme recognising success, building skills and demonstrating personal achievement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) project work.

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