Go Higher STEM day at University of Leeds – Roller coaster rides!

On Thursday 30th November 40 Year 9 Immanuel College students had a fabulous day at the University of Leeds taking part in a physics activity with current physics students at the university. The day had a STEM (science, technology, engineering and technology) focus.

The students learnt about the forces and energy used in a roller coaster ride, for instance kinetic and gravitational energy and that energy is never destroyed, just converted into other forms of energy such as heat. The students then divided into teams and created their own roller coasters using a mixture of foam tubing, cocktail sticks and lots of masking tape.

The challenge was for the students  to create a roller coaster that would allow a marble to end up in a plastic cup, with extra points for every jump, twist and loop included.

Through exceptional teamwork the winning team matched the score of the university physics students with 55 points.

During the rest of the visit the year 9 students took part in a tour of the university and even looked around a student flat in the halls of residence on campus. They were very impressed by the en-suite bedrooms and sensibly asked about how much the accommodation would actually cost! We had lunch in the refectory along with lots of the university students and were amazed at the food choices available. Finally there was a student panel where our students could ask about student life. There were some really thoughtful questions. For instance, what was the main challenge of being at university?

Immanuel students were complemented by our hosts, in particular by Chris Hatton who is the university outreach officer. He told the students that they rarely had school students who had engaged as well with the university ambassadors and with the activities.

It was a really fun and informative day and a big thank you to Go Higher West Yorkshire NCOP for funding the trip.

Joanne Welding

Go Higher progression officer at Immanuel College