My space week was a real blast

Stirling Observer - - SCHOOL NEWS -

\McLaren High

McLaren High School stu­dent Ni­amh King (now S6) was se­lected to at­tend the Scot­tish Space School this sum­mer at Strath­clyde Univer­sity. Here is her re­port of the week-long event:

Ev­ery sum­mer 100 S5 Scot­tish school pupils are se­lected to at­tend the res­i­den­tial sum­mer school which con­sisted of a mix­ture of lec­tures, labs, and work­shops on a space theme and de­liv­ered by aca­demics and re­searchers from the Fac­ulty of Engi­neer­ing, as well as vis­it­ing NASA rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

The first day saw us split into 10 teams of 10 with each team named af­ter an ISS mod­ule - my team was called Destiny. We were in­tro­duced to our men­tors and lec­tur­ers as well as do­ing many ice-breaker games so we all got to know each other. Day two was an in­tro­duc­tion to de­sign, man­u­fac­ture and engi­neer­ing man­age­ment and we were set a project to work on through­out the week. We were in­tro­duced to NASA as­tro­naut Su­nita Wil­liams, a vet­eran of two space mis­sions, Ex­pe­di­tions 14/15 and 32/33 to the International Space Sta­tion (ISS). She is cur­rently train­ing for the first post-cer­ti­fi­ca­tion mis­sion of Boe­ing’s Star­liner space­craft – the se­cond crewed flight for that ve­hi­cle – and her third long du­ra­tion mis­sion aboard the ISS.

We were then set the chal­lenge to con­struct rock­ets that would later in the day be launched from Kelv­in­grove Park, it was in­cred­i­bly fun and our rock­ets were then judged by Su­nita and Joel Mon­tal­bano - NASA Deputy International Space Sta­tion (ISS) Pro­gram Man­ager. That evening Su­nita gave a pre­sen­ta­tion on her jour­ney to be­com­ing an as­tro­naut and her ex­pe­ri­ences in space. Fi­nally at the end of the day the men­tors gave us a pre­sen­ta­tion on what it is like to study engi­neer­ing.

On the third day there was an in­tro­duc­tion to bio­med­i­cal, pros­thet­ics and or­thotics engi­neer­ing, fol­lowed by a work­shop on me­chan­i­cal and aero­space engi­neer­ing where we built a vir­tual re­al­ity head­set. In the af­ter­noon a chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing work­shop had us mak­ing bouncy balls from dif­fer­ent for­mu­las and mea­sur­ing how ef­fec­tive each formula was.

In the evening we were in­tro­duced to NASA flight sur­geon Dr Richard Scheur­ing who gave a pre­sen­ta­tion on his role and a talk from Clyde Space, a Scot­tish com­pany which de­signs and man­u­fac­tures its own mi­cro-satel­lites.

Day four was an elec­tronic and elec­tri­cal engi­neer­ing work­shop in the morn­ing where we built a heart mon­i­tor us­ing var­i­ous elec­tri­cal com­po­nents and later on we worked on a project to cre­ate a prod­uct that would im­prove an as­pect of life for as­tro­nauts on the ISS. In the af­ter­noon Nikki Lloyd, a pre­vi­ous in­tern from NASA and daugh­ter of the founder of the Space School, gave a pre­sen­ta­tion where she talked about her ex­pe­ri­ence of study­ing dif­fer­ent types of dis­eases at the re­search cen­tre in Hous­ton, Texas. That evening we had an open mic night where each team did a per­for­mance that everyone in­volved got to watch and were judged by the NASA guests.

On the fi­nal day we had an in­tro­duc­tion to naval ar­chi­tec­ture, ocean and ma­rine engi­neer­ing as well as a fun group task where we got to use re­mote con­trol ‘Mars Rovers’ to pick up mag­nets un­der­ground and earn points. In the af­ter­noon we did a civil and en­vi­ron­men­tal engi­neer­ing work­shop where we built a bridge out of dry spaghetti and hot glue to see which shapes would hold up the most weight.

That af­ter­noon Joel gave us a pre­sen­ta­tion about his jour­ney to­wards work­ing in NASA and what his job in­volves. To con­clude we had a ceilidh to cel­e­brate the last night.

Meeting as­tro­nauts and en­gi­neers work­ing on live space projects for the first time was in­spir­ing and speak­ing to the as­tro­nauts about their time in space and their jour­ney to be­come an as­tro­naut was hugely mo­ti­vat­ing. It was a bril­liant op­por­tu­nity to meet 100 like­minded peo­ple from across Scot­land and I made many friends. Nuffield Bi­ol­ogy Place­ment Heather Jack­son (now S6) spent the sum­mer on a four-week re­search project spon­sored by the Nuffield Foun­da­tion. Her re­port fol­lows:

McLaren High bi­ol­ogy teacher Dr Ben­den en­cour­aged me to ap­ply, helped me with my ap­pli­ca­tion and found a place­ment with the In­sti­tute of Aqua­cul­ture at the Univer­sity of Stir­ling and I then spent four weeks of my sum­mer hol­i­day con­duct­ing a re­search project look­ing at wa­ter qual­ity in Swan­swa­ter Fish­ery just out­side Ban­nock­burn.

I had to study the wa­ter in the fish­ery as well as the wa­ter that sup­plies the fish­ery.

I learned how to take wa­ter sam­ples out in the field, and then back in the labs at the univer­sity I learned about wa­ter anal­y­sis and used dif­fer­ent equip­ment and tech­niques to in­ves­ti­gate the wa­ter qual­ity.

I had to an­a­lyse all my re­sults, write a sci­en­tific re­port and make a poster which I pre­sented at the cel­e­bra­tion event in Ed­in­burgh for all the stu­dents who had com­pleted projects from all over Scot­land.

De­spite hav­ing to give up most of my hol­i­day, I re­ally en­joyed the whole ex­pe­ri­ence and it was very worth­while. I learned a lot from the peo­ple who were in­volved and the ex­pe­ri­ence I gained from work­ing in the labs and in the field will be in­valu­able.

It has con­firmed that a ca­reer in re­search and bi­ol­ogy is for me and so I would en­cour­age any­one con­sid­er­ing a ca­reer in sci­ence to ap­ply for this amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity.

\Balfron High

Scot­tish Schools Road Race Balfron High had its big­gest en­try with 29 ath­letes tak­ing part in the race at Falkirk Sta­dium on Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 3. The pupils once again did well bring­ing home a team gold (se­nior girls, win­ning by a huge mar­gin), a team sil­ver (S2 boys) and two in­di­vid­ual bronzes (Isla Brit­ton and Va­len­cia Wright). The se­nior boys team had nar­row miss with fourth place. Team medal­lists were: Se­nior girls: Isla Brit­ton, Abby Row­ley, Rosie Eck­er­s­ley, El­iz­a­beth Thompson. S2 Boys: Con­nor Bell, Thomas Reilly, Harry Baines, Jonathan Prem­peh. Other top per­for­mances came from Tus­cany Wright, Joshua Kennedy, Con­nor Bell, Blayne Wright and Mur­phy Hand.

Happy Balfron High School’s S2 boys sil­ver medal­lists - Con­nor Bell, Harry Baines, Jonathan Prem­peh, Thomas Reilly Win­ners

Balfron High se­nior girls’ win­ning team - El­iz­a­beth Thompson, Rosie Eck­er­s­ley, Isla Brit­ton, Abby Row­ley

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