Science students put their skills into practice

Dr Suzy Lishman, right.
Dr Suzy Lishman, right.

Students from the Duchess’s Community High School, Alnwick, have undertaken a variety of STEM events in science, writes Gabriel Brown.

STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) opportunities focus on practical skills, employability, science understanding and careers pathways.

The school has received a visit from the president of the Royal College of Pathologists, Dr Suzy Lishman, who held seminars with the Year 10 students and the Sixth Form biology students. It helped students to find out what life is like working in the NHS with real-life anecdotes of university life, career paths and choices, areas of study and experiences that Dr Lishman had encountered on her way to the top of her profession as president. Students were also given a virtual demonstration of how to remove a human brain for analysis.

Students were also privy to a STEM ambassadors visit regarding dentistry and genetics, in which the Year 10 students became apprentice dentists for a morning and made model casts for human teeth and had a go at extracting teeth. The students also got to talk to the ambassadors about life at university and the career pathways that they could make in science.

Year 12 applied science students put their practical skills into practice during a DNA workshop at the Centre for Life to support their learning. They were able to use restriction enzymes to digest samples of DNA and then carry out separation of DNA fragments using gel electrophoresis plates and even view their genetic fingerprints using UV light.

STEM activities in the summer term include the ecology field trip for A-Level biologists and a trip to Edinburgh Zoo to look at the role of genetics in conservation. Easter brings the Iceland trip for biology and geography students.