12 Sep 13

Bridgwater students inspired by mobile lab visit

150 Year 9 Bridgwater College Academy students swapped their classroom for a lesson delivered from a lorry last week, when a mobile laboratory visited their school.

The ‘Lab in a Lorry’ visit, organised by EDF Energy and the Institute of Physics, aims to encourage the next generation of scientists by providing 11-14 year olds with the opportunity to explore science though specially created interactive experiments.

The visit forms part of EDF Energy’s education programme aiming to engage local students in science subjects and inspire the workforce of the future. This recent visit follows a three month sponsorship by EDF Energy earlier in 2013 where the mobile lab hosted 2,700 students from 14 Somerset schools.

The experiments on board the lorry involve using the properties of light to diagnose sick patients, using sound waves to smash wine glasses, and scattering light to understand why the sky is blue. The key concepts behind the experiments are illustrated with examples from everyday life and cutting-edge research.

The 44ft lorry, operated by the Institute of Physics and staffed by volunteer scientists and engineers, is fitted with three distinct lab areas where groups of up to six young people can take part in experiments.

Peter Elliot, executive head teacher of Bridgwater College Academy, said: “It was wonderful to have Lab in a Lorry here today. The experiments thoroughly complement our school’s science curriculum. It is great that the young people can engage with a national organisation like the Institute of Physics and meet volunteers from all sorts of scientific and technical backgrounds. We are grateful to EDF Energy for their role in bringing the Lorry to Bridgwater and for their wider long term commitments to the Academy with our EDF Employability Awards.”

Year 9 Student Brandon Patrick said: “The lorry was really fun and exciting! We got to do some really cool experiments that we wouldn't have had the opportunity to do in the classroom.”

Tom Thayer, EDF Energy Education Coordinator said: “It’s fantastic we are able to bring this exciting project to so many schools in Somerset. The lorry is great fun and will hopefully encourage more students to think about studying STEM subjects.”