Celebrating the wonder of science

Priestley College has been putting science under the microscope in recent weeks with a series of inspiring events.

Priestley – named after the scientist who discovered oxygen – invited high school pupils to take part in ‘The Big Bang at Priestley’ science festival and has also organised activities to challenge and inspire its own students.

“It is fitting that at a college named after Joseph Priestley celebrates science in a big way,” said STEM coordinator Shahida Khanam.

“One of the most enjoyable parts of the activities over the past month has been seeing young people of different ages inspired and in awe at the beauty of science.”

In 2015, Priestley College became the first sixth form college in the country to be awarded STEM assured status, meaning it provides some of the best Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths education in the country.

During the Big Bang event pupils from Priestley’s TCAT partner schools Beamont Collegiate Academy, Padgate Academy, Penketh High School and Bridgewater High School enjoyed numerous hands-on STEM activities ranging from explosive chemistry to flying drones.

There were workshops in physics, chemistry and electronics as well as the chance to make water wheels, control LEGO Mindstorms robots for a Mars mission and create mini ecosystems.

In recent weeks Priestley’s own students have heard from speakers from the Science and Technology Facilities Council, National Nuclear Laboratories and Colas.

They also had the chance to programme Sphero drones in an HE apprenticeship challenge.

Student Kaitlyn Jones, formerly of St Gregory’s RC High School, said: “It has been great to hear about the experiences of people working in industry because it gives a real idea of how the things we are learning in college will be used once we go into work.”

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