Date: Wednesday 27th July 2016
Venue: East Oxford Primary School, Union Street, Oxford OX4 1JP
East Oxford Primary School was the setting for the first of this year’s Science Oxford Super Science Summer Schools (https://scienceoxford.com/). These free clubs are for children aged 8 – 12 years old, and provide participants the opportunity to experience the wonder of science in an exciting and fun way.
Living Well Oxford was invited along to run one of the morning sessions, and we jumped at the chance. The broad theme was energy, so we focussed the session on the energy our bodies need. We started the session looking at food chains, thinking about how all the energy we consume in our food started out as light energy from the sun.
We then proceeded to take apart sprouting seeds, so see how a bit of water and a few days, can transform a dried up seed, and enable it to grow its first root and shoot, and start photosynthesising for itself.
We then moved on to look at the range of vitamins and minerals which the plants in our diet can provide. By exploring a range of fruits (using sharp knives safely, and our senses of touch, smell and taste), we discovered which colours were best for consuming which nutrients, and found out which parts of our bodies would benefit from them (such as our digestive system, our immune system, our hearts etc.).
It was then time to put our own bodies to the test, using stethoscopes to listen to our heartbeats both before and after a burst of hula hooping or jogging on the spot. Our budding scientists / physicians worked well in their teams to divide the tasks of using the stethoscope, doing the exercise, timing the exercise and recording the number of heartbeats.
A key part of the Living Well Oxford project is community consultation, so we wanted to spend a bit of time gathering the children’s views on looking after themselves and getting older. While the children were writing and drawing their thoughts, they were multi-tasking, taking it in turns to use the energy in their bodies to shake jars of double cream to turn them into butter. Their reward for their efforts was a small pot of butter to take home.
The session was great fun, and the children were a pleasure to work with. We’d like to say a big thank you to the team at Science Oxford for inviting us to be part of such a great week.