STEM at Work Day
On 17 December, 15 students from Years 8 and 9 went to a STEM at Work Day at Canterbury Christ Church University.
We attended lectures and activities on a huge range of people that use STEM in their work.
We met two Operating Department Practitioners who explained that they look after patients during an operation. We learnt that they support the patient when they are given the anaesthetic before the operation, check the welfare of the patient during the operation and help in recovery after the operation when the patient wakes up.
We had the chance to follow the process of getting dressed whilst remaining sterile, which is an essential skill to make sure no microbes enter the operating theatre. It was difficult to remember all the stages in the right order!
We learnt about the work that South East Water does to plan the route of water pipes and that the effect of air in the pipes is to stop the water flowing. We took part in a challenge to build model water pipes to supply a fictitious town.
We had a great talk from Keltbray who maintain railway track and learnt why trains don’t go “clickety-clack” like they used to. This is because there are longer pieces of track that can be used these days compared to previous times. The 300m long metal track sections are stretched to the length that they would be at 28OC before they are laid in place. This means that the tracks won’t bend in hot weather.
We learnt about the large number of considerations that go into developing new medicines. The molecules in the medicine has to be the right size, shape and structure to fit into the active site of the enzyme. If these things are not right then the medicine won’t work. Issues such as taste, cost, solubility and safety also have to be considered. It takes between 10 and 15 years to develop a new medicine.
We attended a talk about how Maths affects every day devices. It takes 4 satellites to pinpoint exactly where you are when you use GPS on your sat. nav. or phone. Voice operated devices such as Alexa and Siri have huge data bases of voices saying different words so they can understand lots of different accents.
We finished the day with a presentation which highlighted how biology, chemistry and physics all work together to solve scientific problems. For example Space-X who are developing a re-usable rocket need to use biological knowledge to understand the effects of increased g-forces on the body, chemistry to design fuels that will propel the rocket into space, and physics to stop the rocket falling over when it lands back on Earth.
In the same presentation we discovered that no-one knows how anaesthetics work. If you increase the air pressure around and anaesthetised person they wake up, and if you then decrease the pressure they go back to sleep. This happens for all anaesthetics, but no-one know why.
Finally we had a chance to fly some drones which were controlled by our hand movements. Luckily we didn’t cause any problems at Gatwick Airport as we flew them inside the lecture theatre.
All the students showed fantastic behaviour and were an example to the other schools that were present.
Many thanks to Mr. Fiddler for coming with us and driving the minibus