Scientific success in the skills centre

Guest post from Tracey deMartino – Orchard Manor Skills Tutor

Orchard Manor science week

Throughout Sports and Science week, Orchard Manor residents attended sessions in their flat/day group. We received brilliant feedback about this as everyone seemed to really enjoy working with their flat mates which created a lovely atmosphere.

Monday was the day for building and naming our rockets. The young people worked with each other and if someone was stuck for a name, the rest of the group were there to lend a hand – with names from “The Fizzard of Oz” to “Flying Without Wings”! In drama we made up stories about the adventures we might have in space if we could take off in the rockets built with Tracey, whilst in Art there was plenty of glitter to make the rockets go intergalactic.

On Tuesday we moved onto the launching of our rockets which was thoroughly enjoyed by all – except Tracey! (“I smell like I’ve been working in a fish and chip for a week without any washing facilities!”) Everyone was cheering each other as we launched our rockets and there was a brilliant atmosphere. The winner was Jess’ rocket (Pink Lady): it cleared 10 metres! Elizabeth (Adonis) and Joe’s (Beat Machine) were runners-up.

Experiments galore!

Wednesday was filled with numerous experiments. A competition started in Tracey’s room as we had a go at the Balancing Ball experiment (suspending a ball in a stream of air). There was lots of shouting by all – we’re sorry to say some were trying to put their competitors off! Emily beat all the competition by keeping her ping pong ball in the air for 1 minute and 26 seconds. The experiments in Shelley’s room focussed around sound. Amongst these experiments we listened to each other speak through: cups and string, homemade loud speakers and balloons filled with different things! In Vicky’s room the UV lights were working their magic, ice moulds were rubbed with salt to create holes and craters which the residents covered in fluorescent paint and sand, making them look like tiny glowing planets. These were left outside to melt – creating a space inspired, marble painting. We also made our own fluorescent lava lamps with glowing beads, which fizzed when we added effervescent powder. Rowena and Gemma were outside making volcanos using different shaped bottles, vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and food colouring. Everyone was encouraged to make choices, mix the ingredients together and let the volcanos erupt! There were also giant bubbles and balloon rockets.

It was an exciting week!