STEM Festival Week
Hanford began a year dedicated and focused around Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths with a STEM Festival. Over four days Amanda Webster arranged for the girls a packed programme of talks, workshops and activities to whet their appetite for the year ahead.
On Friday there was an engineering workshop run by the Smallpiece Trust where girls were challenged to design-and-construct a wind turbines to produce the greatest amount of electricity, whilst ensuring that their model is aesthetically pleasing and not overly expensive.
Friday night’s opening speaker was the mathematician, author and broadcaster Alex Bellos who delighted us with the story of The Origin of Numbers and The Joy of Zero. The girls were fascinated by his demonstration Japanese Flash Anzan, fast sums done using a mental abacus. We were delighted to welcome enthusiastic students from Sandroyd and Clayesmore.
Ian Dunn from Do Science a stand-up scientist who has performed all over the country encouraged our IIIrd, IVth and Vth Form to get excited by the world of STEM with gadgets, demonstrations and lots of stories from the world of science.
In the evening Ruth Davey, a PhD student from Imperial College London, spoke to UVIth and LVIth talked about alternative energy sources and brought along some fascinating mineral samples. The girls learnt about the challenges and complexity involved in reducing CO2 emissions.
Tim Marshall from the Detective Project turned the library into a crime scene to run a CSI Hanford workshop where girls were able to try their hands at latest forensic techniques to solve a crime.
On Tuesday evening we were visited by The Natural History Museum’s Senior Curator of Diptera, Dr Erica McAlister. She gave us a fascinating induction into the secret life of flies showing just how important, innovative and wonderful these tiny creatures are to the environment.
The Medical Mavericks arrived on Wednesday to encourage the girls to ‘Challenge the Champions’ with ten amazing sports science tests. They were able race a virtual Usain Bolt, testing their reaction speeds and strength.
Our closing speaker for the festival was Ann Fullick who, after graduating in Natural Sciences from Cambridge, has spent her whole life working in science and is best know as the author of many GCSE and A level Biology text books. She shared her experiences and highlighted the diverse range of opportunities open to someone interested in working in this fascinating field.