Students conducted intensive experiments including investigating pond life, flora and fauna, bacteria and foodstuff. Each of the students designed a three-day experiment and will write up their research as part of their A Level biology coursework.
Teacher Mrs Annable said: ‘Everybody was doing independent work. We had 12 ecologists working outside in our local wildlife area on projects including gauging the effect of light intensity on plant growth, looking at the distribution of plants within a specific area and calculating the effect of pollution on lichen growth. Groups worked in the laboratories on a wide range of topics. These include the effects of sandwich packaging and how different materials affect moisture and pH levels and the growth of yeasts and moulds. Another experiment was testing different fruits to see which was the best tenderiser to use on meat.
‘One girl checked three groups of Year 7s before and after breakfast to look at their speed of thought. Another looked at the effect of blueberry juice on cognitive ability. It is amazing what the Sixth Formers are doing. One of the great things this year is the fact that they are designing something novel and new within their methodology which hasn’t necessarily been studied before.’
Derin Odusanya tested natural skin remedies including apple cider vinegar, coconut oil and tea tree oil to gauge their antibacterial properties.
Rosie Foster investigated the effect of enzymes on the decay rate of connective tissue in meat. She said: ‘I am pureeing figs, pineapple and kiwi and testing which extract has the highest enzyme rate. I will then put the one that works the fastest on some cooked meat and measure its effects. I think the pineapple will be the best.’
Phoebe Rose was testing the levels of anti-oxidants in blueberries that had been packaged in different ways using fresh, frozen dried and cooked varieties. She said: ‘I am going to see if the packaging makes any difference. I am expecting that the other methods of packaging, other than fresh, will cause the anti-oxidants to be lost.’
Lina Sytchenko was measuring the surface area of leaves on the north and south facing side of a shrub. She said: ‘My hypothesis is that leaves will have a larger surface area on the north side to compensate for not having as much light. It is quite time-consuming.’
Tyler Harris investigated how light affects the growth of lichen on trees while Peter King and Ashley Gombedza were comparing species of gorse nearer the car park with those in a more rural location to see if pollution had any effect on the growth.
Rebecca Hearne measured the distribution of ragwort on a section of a slope: She said: ‘There is more moisture down the bottom which is probably why there is more ragwort there. I am looking at pH levels, moisture and light intensity.’
Aprillia Lee was testing the water quality of the two ponds and comparing species found in each. She said: ‘It is time consuming but enjoyable. I will expect to find some newts as I think the water quality is quite good with good oxygen and nitrate levels.’