Schoolchildren give thumbs up to science showcase winner

20 Mar 2020 04:27
Published by: Kian French

Youngsters from across the county have helped the award-winning Royal Institution (Ri) and University of Central Lancashire's (UCLan) Young Scientist Centre (YSC) to celebrate its fifth anniversary.

Schoolchildren from Preston and Burnley were the guest judges of the YSC's 2020 science demonstration competition.

The centre is a collaboration between the University and the Royal Institution of Great Britain and opened its doors in 2015.

The Year Six children watched four science experiments by students and staff in UCLan's state-of-the-art lab on the Preston Campus. The youngsters chose third year UCLan biology student Sara Sheikj as the winner for her demonstration making seaweed jelly to explain how chemical reactions work.

Mishel Rafiq, age 10, from English Martyrs' Catholic Primary School, voted for the winner. She said: "I just didn't realise that seaweed can be used to make jelly. I want to try and make my own jelly sweets at home now."

Kayden Lowe, from English Martyrs' Catholic Primary School, was one of the students asked to present Sara with her winning trophy. The 11-year-old said: "The demonstrations made science fun. I especially liked the one about slime that explained states of matter and how things can be a liquid and a solid."

Eleven-year-old Sarwar Ahmed, from Burnley St Peter's CE Primary School, commented: "I've really enjoyed watching all four science presentations and found them fascinating. We also had fun standing inside giant bubbles, which is something I've never done before."

Since the UCLan and Ri YSC became the first Ri centre outside of London in 2015, nearly 10,000 children from across the region have taken part in fun and interactive workshops. The purpose-built facility allows young people greater access to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects outside of their school classroom.

The Centre won the Best Community Engagement Campaign prize at the Heist Awards for Education Marketing in 2016.

YSC Officer Sujata Patel, who has helped deliver hundreds of sessions in the YSC, added: "By providing hands-on experiences of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through interactive activities, the YSC offers a unique experience for primary and secondary school pupils and community groups in the region, inspiring and enthusing young people to increase uptake of core subjects.

"We're delighted to have welcomed so many enthusiastic children into the YSC in our first five years, we can't wait to welcome more in the future."

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