Year 5 students saw a comet being created as part of a primary science conference where they heard a keynote speaker and took part in three science workshops.
Judith Green from the National Space Academy mixed mind-boggling space facts with a practical demonstration where a mini comet was formed from water, carbon, alcohol, protein, sand and ammonia. The ingredients were mixed in a washing up bowl and then solid carbon dioxide was added, which at minus 80 degrees froze the other ingredients into a ‘snowy dirtball’, which replicated in miniscule form, the scientific process behind comet formation. During the talk Mrs Green also spoke about space exploration, the dimensions of space and the massive Churyumov–Gerasimenko comet, that is the size of Chicago.
She said: ‘This is a taster session to get spark their interest, get them enthralled. I haven’t yet met a child or adult who isn’t interested in space once you get talking to them.’
Afterwards the 60 students, from six local primaries, split into groups for practical laboratory sessions. For the ‘Floating Gardens of Bangladesh’ section they had to design and build rafts that could be immersed in water to grow crops on. In ‘Don’t Blow It’ they examined sheeps’ lungs and experimented with lung pressure by blowing balloons up. The third task was to look at the best ways of dispersing oil spills.