Children explore vanishing glass and power of brainwaves at Festival Schools Day


Schoolchildren in the Explore Zone

Children watch glass disappear in the Explore Zone

Children from local primary schools were let loose inside Imperial Festival's Explore and Research Zones last week, for the Festival's Schools Day.

Schools Day gives London schoolchildren the chance to meet Imperial College London researchers and explore some of the science on offer at the Festival.

In the Research Zone, the pupils had a go at controlling devices with their brainwaves, making a plastic-like human chain, and creating bracelets representing different strands of genetic code.

They were guided by Imperial researchers, who were on hand to explain their work and demonstrate the science behind it.

The children also carried out experiments in the Explore Zone, investigating how non-Newtonian fluids can switch from liquid to solid, watching how an optical illusion can make glass seemingly disappear and witnessing a fire tornado.The Zone is run by staff from Imperial's Outreach team, which was set up to raise aspirations, change perceptions and stimulate an interest in science, engineering and medicine. 

The pupils, aged between 7 and 11, came from Larmenier and Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, William Davis Primary School, St Nicholas Preparatory School and Marlborough Primary School.

The photos below show Schools Day in action.  

Child controls computer game with brainwaves
In the Research Zone, a pupil from Larmenier and Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School controls a computer game with her brainwaves, assisted by Dr Pascal Durrenberger from the Department of Medicine. 

Pupil with DNA bracelet
A pupil from St Nicholas Preparatory School makes a bracelet representing a strand of genetic code, assisted by Colette Roach from the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.

Pupils in Research ZoneChildren from Larmenier and Sacred Heart join hands and spin around to investigate the properties of plastics, guided by Dr Charles Romain and Dr Seb Pike from the Department of Chemistry. 

Child with heart on hand
In a new take on wearing your heart on your sleeve, a pupil from St Nicholas has an anatomically correct heart painted on his hand by Carmen Chan from the NIHR Biomedical Research Unit at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.

School children motion game
A pupil from St Nicholas controls a penguin zooming down a mountain using a motion sensor worn over his ear, developed by researchers from the Hamlyn Centre. 

School children in the Research Zone"Who knows what makes planes fly?" asks a researcher from the Department of Materials. The children made their own paper planes and turbines to investigate what makes things fly efficiently.

child with hat Pupils from Larmenier and Sacred Heart explore what can happen when ingredients change in our genetic 'recipe,' with the aid of some artfully-designed hats.

Children explore lungsPupils from St Nicholas blow paint through straws to explore lung function.

child explores non-newtonian fluid
In the Explore Zone, a pupil from St Nicholas gets to grips with non-Newtonian Fluid. When it is placed on a speaker playing a very low bass note, this cornflower and water mixture 'misbehaves' and forms a solid mass.

Fire tornado
Luke Bacon and Dan Beatrup from Outreach demonstrate a fire tornado, which shows how fluid dynamic effects can be simulated in a laboratory. 


Laura Gallagher

Laura Gallagher
Communications Division

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Imperial-Festival, Outreach
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