## Combustion

During the unit of ‘Reactions,’ the year 9 students have been learning about combustion. After learning about the products of combustion and the efficiency of different fuels through practical investigation, the students could model the reactants and products of combustion using Molymod kits.

The students’ models of the balanced equation for the Complete Combustion of Methane.

The students were also able to demonstrate the formation of the carbon deposits around poorly ventilated gas fires and boilers.

Mr Knee

Science Department

## Exploring the Spark: How a Van de Graaff Generator Energizes Minds

Have you ever felt a slight shock when touching a metal doorknob after shuffling across a carpeted floor? That jolt is caused by static electricity, a fascinating phenomenon where electric charges build up on the surface of objects. How does this relate to the Van de Graaff generator? The Year 9 students have been finding out how this machine works and the Science behind it.

Named after its inventor, physicist Robert J. Van de Graaff, this remarkable device is designed to generate high voltages of static electricity. Imagine a large, spherical, metal dome mounted atop an insulated column. Inside this column resides a rubber belt, like a mini conveyor belt and two metal brushes.

The Inner Workings

Initially, the rubber belt starts to move, driven by a motor. As it rotates, the belt rubs against two metal brushes, acquiring a surplus of electrons. Remember, electrons are negatively charged particles. With each rotation, the surplus of electrons accumulates on the surface of the belt. According to the law of electrostatics, like charges repel each other, so the negatively charged belt repels electrons in the belt, forcing them to move upward to the dome. As electrons build up on the surface of the dome, it acquires a substantial negative charge. This process continues until the potential between the dome and the ground reaches a very high level, often in the range of thousands to millions of volts!

When a student puts a hand on the dome, the electrons will spread out onto them as they repel from the other electrons. They are most obvious in a person’s hair because the like charges of the electrons repel each other and cause the hairs to stand up and spread away from each other. Year 9 had some great fun using the machine and explaining how this works. Take a look below at some of the students new hair do’s!

Mr Dean

Science Department

## ‘Step into the NHS’ Competition

This year, all students in Year 7 and 8 are taking part in the ‘Step into the NHS’ competition.

The ‘Step into the NHS’ competition, empowers students to explore the diverse career opportunities within the NHS. Through this competition, young minds are encouraged to envision themselves as integral parts of the healthcare system, fostering a sense of purpose and inspiration for their future endeavours.

For the competition students have been asked to research a variety of careers within the NHS, pick a job which appeals to them and then create a job description and a job advert to promote their chosen career in a creative and original way.

The judges of the competition will select ten regional winners who will each win a £25 Amazon voucher. These regional winners will then have the opportunity to pitch their work virtually to a panel of judges, who will crown the national winner. They will win a £50 Amazon voucher.

Your Science teachers have selected the best 5 entries from each Year 7 and Year 8 class to submit to the judges of the competition. Here are a few of our chosen entries. We will find out later in the year if we have any regional or national winners. Wait for our update!

Good luck, everyone!

Miss Forrest

Science Department

## Peter Higgs

Peter Higgs, the physicist who came up with the idea of the Higgs boson particle, has died aged 94.

Peter Higgs was an English physicist whose work changed the way we understand the universe.

In the 1960s, Higgs proposed that there was an invisible field that stretches throughout the entire universe. This field, called the Higgs field, interacts with particles, giving them mass and making them heavy.

From Higg’s idea, many scientists wanted to find evidence of this field and the particle associated with it – the Higgs boson particle, so they built a machine called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland. It’s where tiny particles zoom around at incredible speeds and crash into each other. These collisions can create new particles.

In 2012, scientists at the LHC confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson particle proving the existence of the Higgs field.

Peter Higgs’s discovery earned him numerous awards, including the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013. More importantly, his work inspired future generations of scientists to continue exploring the wonders of the universe.

Peter Higgs’s story is a testament to the power of curiosity. His journey reminds us that even the smallest ideas can lead to monumental discoveries that shape our understanding of the world. Let’s keep asking questions and exploring new ideas. Who knows what we might discover next!

Mrs Goodwill

Science Department

## Chemical Changes

This term, all year 10 classes will be studying a new unit in GCSE Chemistry called Chemical Changes. As part of this, their lab skills are put to the test by trying to make blue copper sulphate crystals.

This is a GCSE required practical, so remembering and understanding the various stages is essential knowledge.

Choosing the Acid and Base: Students needed to select a suitable acid and base combination to produce copper sulphate. The only suitable acid was hydrochloric acid but we discussed the pros and cons of using various bases, settling on copper oxide (a black powder).

Making the salt: Whilst making the salt was a simple process of adding the copper oxide to warm acid, the key point was understanding why it needed to be added in excess (which is to ensure all of the acid has reacted and doesn’t contaminate the product).

Separation: Once the salt solution had been made, the excess copper oxide needed to be filtered out, leaving a bright blue copper sulphate solution.

Evaporation and crystallisation: The aim was making dry salt crystals, so the solution was then heated to remove some of the water before allowing the remaining liquid to slowly evaporate and the crystals to form.

Participating in this practical and others like it, offers numerous educational benefits:

Application of Knowledge: Students applied their theoretical understanding of chemical reactions to real-world scenarios, reinforcing key concepts learned in class.

Personal responsibility: Working in a busy classroom, in groups, with potentially dangerous chemicals and various pieces of glassware, required students to show maturity and responsibility.

Critical Thinking: Students were encouraged to think critically and problem-solve throughout the experiment, especially when troubleshooting unexpected outcomes.

Enthusiasm for Science: Science is a practical subject and, although I like to think all Chemistry lessons at PGHS are interesting, putting scientific knowledge to use in a practical way helps build engagement with and enthusiasm for the subject.

Supporting Your Child’s Learning: A great way of consolidating understanding and retaining knowledge is to explain what you have learned to someone else. This is particularly the case with a required practical. Asking your daughter what she’s doing in her science lessons is a great way of helping her to recap this essential knowledge.

Mr Coogan

Science Department

## Earth Day

Hello Geographers!

Monday 22nd April was Earth Day, an annual event that highlights environmental issues, asks people to think about their impact on the planet and make a pledge to make a positive environmental change in their lives.

I have been in lower school assemblies this week focusing on the issue of micro-plastics, an environmental issue that we are close to losing any control over and one which is the focus of Earth Day 2024 (check out the website at Earthday.org).

Microplastics are pieces of plastic under 5mm in diameter but given the properties of the plastic, they can go on to break down into smaller and smaller pieces. Oceanographers have detected microplastics in the oceans of diameters around 2 micrometres; that’s the thickness of spider silk!

These plastics are ingested by creatures in the oceans and enter the food chain, often with us at the top. We are still unclear on the impacts this has on human health, but certain microplastics have been detected in the bodies of many humans.

We can ALL play a part in reducing the amount of microplastics entering the natural environment and that is why I am asking if students will make a pledge to mark Earth Day and to do something to help tackle the microplastics issue. In Geography lessons next week, all lower school students will be given a pledge document and hopefully, they will commit to making at least one change in their lives, big or small, to reduce the amount of microplastics that they are responsible for.

I would love to see some of your efforts. Email me photos, a video or a description of what you have done.

Mr Bowles

## Year 9 Netball

Jessica M, Jade B, Katie O, Faye S, Mia-Grace C, Holly L, Marnie D played in the South Ribble Netball League play-offs on Tuesday 16th April and started the night with a brilliant win against Balshaws High School. This progressed them into the final against All Hallows and the PGHS team came away as runners-up. This means that they achieved 2nd place in the 2023-24 Y9 South Ribble Netball League, which is a fantastic achievement. Well done, girls!

Miss Finnigen

PE Department

Posted in PE

## Krakow

On Thursday 28th March, 41 Year 10 students accompanied Mr Bretherton, Miss Lee, Miss Parker, Mr Bowles and I on a trip to Krakow in Poland. Contrary to my gloomy predictions, the weather was glorious throughout our stay, which made sightseeing in the city a real joy. That said, our main purpose was to visit places associated with the Holocaust, in which approximately 6 million Jewish people lost their lives.

Our students can tell you more about our visit:

Day 1

The flight was good with no disruptions. The Hotel Wyspianski was superb, well-appointed and centrally located. The breakfast was delicious.

The food at Invito restaurant was delicious and it was amazing how well they catered for people with allergies and intolerances. The staff were polite and welcoming. It was a perfect start to the trip.

Day 2

Visiting Auschwitz was a truly educational and eye-opening experience – it’s unfathomable the amount of destruction which was caused during that period, and it was important to see and learn about the atrocities caused. As the saying goes, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” One exhibition in the camp which stood out to me was a room which contained shaved hair from those who were imprisoned in Auschwitz during the Second World War. The sheer volume of hair really puts into perspective the scale of violence which occurred in the camp. The tour was led by a guide who was very knowledgeable about the history of Auschwitz and Birkenau, and she happily answered all our questions.

The sheer size of the concentration camp was unbelievable and the number of deaths were hard to get your head round. The living conditions of the victims were extremely poor; they were cramped and incredibly unhygienic. We saw the remains of the gas chambers/crematoriums and a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust. I think everyone was very respectful and appreciated the history behind the camp.

As part of the trip, we took a trip to Schindler’s factory and I have to say, it was fascinating. All the rooms were coordinated to real life places during the war e.g. Schindler’s office, a remake of the walls surrounding the ghetto and we even saw some of the pots and pans which were made for soldiers during the war in Schindler’s factory. The tour guide was incredibly informative and we even found out some details about her life during the period after WW2. It was a fantastic experience and definitely something I would like to do again in the future.

That evening, we went to a new restaurant and had a tomato soup with pasta pieces in it which was delicious. For the main course, we had mash, breaded chicken and coleslaw which was lovely (Mr Bowles ate three platefuls of the coleslaw)! For dessert, we had ice cream cake, which was also gorgeous.

Day 3

On Saturday morning, we visited the Galicia Jewish Museum. There were lots of photos of Jews who had lost their families. It was interesting to read about what happened and it brought home how sad it was. I can’t imagine being discriminated against for who you are. It was so unfair to be judged because of your race or religion.

On Saturday afternoon, we visited Kraków’s old town. In the main square there were a variety of markets selling souvenirs, magnets, Easter baskets and food. The buildings in the square were impressively tall and they housed many restaurants and shops. We had fun buying souvenirs at the market stalls and looking around at the traditional Polish items.

The old castle in the centre of Krakow had beautiful scenery and a lovely walk up to it. There were plenty of things to discover and it was a gorgeous historic building.

Some of the students took the opportunity to take a buggy ride tour around the Kazimierz district with Mr Bretherton. After some impressive haggling by Mr Bretherton, (he manged to knock 200 zloty of the price!) we visited lots of historic landmarks, educating us on the history behind the town. We were able to see the Christian and Jewish areas to see the differences between their lifestyles.

Afterwards, our group headed to the flea market where we were able to enjoy delicious traditional Polish Zapiekanki (baguettes with hot, savoury toppings). This was absolutely delicious. Finally, while we were walking back to the old town we were able to walk past the iconic street that was used as a backdrop for a scene from Schindler’s List, where a mum and a daughter ran down some stairs to escape the Nazis.

The Galicia restaurant was one of my highlights of the trip. The atmosphere in the restaurant was comforting and warm. The roast potatoes were crispy and the pork was perfectly cooked. The staff were very friendly. I loved this restaurant.

Overall it was an amazing trip, where we made memories that will last us a lifetime.

Mr Ramsdale