Girls celebrate British Science Week

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Last week St Mary’s Calne celebrated British Science Week with a host of events to inspire the girls.

To start the week, Mrs Ballard (Head of Science) gave a presentation in Chapel on Pheromones. Everyone had three insect pheromones to smell as Mrs Ballard explained the chemistry of these communication chemicals and the difficulties of finding human pheromones. Monday lunchtime was the final of the 'Great Biology Bake Off'. Our judges, Mary (Mrs McKernan) and Paul (Dr Fowler) had a tough task but after much sampling Rose was pronounced the winner of the signature bake with her Red Blood Cell Cake. Clara and Elsie were joint winners of the technical challenge with their cupcakes of 'the cross section of the earth' (Clara) and 'decay' – beautiful sugar flowers with beetles and caterpillars from Elsie. On Tuesday lunchtime, the Fourth Form students were joined by Year 5 and 6 students from both St Margaret’s Preparatory School and Fynamore Primary School. Mrs Kingsland gave an interactive lecture on comets and even made a ‘comet’ in front of their eyes with dry ice, mud, water and golden syrup.

Tuesday evening’s treat was a lecture from the acclaimed natural history producer Philip Dalton. We learnt about the trials of filming in the wild and some of the clever ways of hiding cameras in mock-up eggs and penguins. We had our own egg cam this week with the chicks hatching live. Ten fertilised eggs arrived on Monday in an incubator and huge excitement spread through the school as the chicks started to hatch. At one point over 200 people across the school network were logged in – surely someone had work to do! Nine out of the ten eggs hatched safely. They will be returning to their free-range farm later this week.

Some girls in LV and LVI had the opportunity to take part in I'm an Engineer - Get me out of here!, an online event where school students across the country meet and interact with engineers. It is an X Factor-style competition between engineers where the students are the judges. Students challenge the engineers over fast-paced online live chats, ask the engineers anything they want, and vote for their favourite engineer to win a prize of £500 to communicate their work with the public. After every event the engineers and moderators are asked which student stood out for them in each of the five zones, and Joyce was nominated as the national student winner in the Surgery Zone!

Finally, on Thursday night it was the much anticipated comedy evening with Helen Arney and Steve Mould from Festival of the Spoken Nerd. The evening did not disappoint with illusions, flames and some fabulous songs celebrating all things scientific. The Science Department are now busy planning another fantastic Science Week for next year...