Balancing Equations

A key concept in Chemistry is how to balance equations. This can be a very daunting challenge for many Chemistry students. This week, year 9 students began to balance these equations as part of their GCSE Science course. To balance an equation, the number of atoms of each element must be the same on either side of the arrow. This is because no atoms are lost or gained during a chemical reaction.

Rather than just talking the students through how to do this, we have used Silent Teacher / Silent Student to teach this skill. It involves the students observing the teacher balance the equation using a visualizer and following the different steps involved. They then have a similar equation to balance for themselves on their whiteboards. The students benefit as they get to see the expert work and they also get to use a whiteboard, so any mistakes are easily corrected. It also allows for immediate feedback and correction of misconceptions.

Test yourself! Can you balance the following equation? C8H18 + O2 à CO2 H2O 

Mr Dean

Science Department

Discovery of the structure of DNA

Year 8 students have been studying the unit, ‘Genes 2’. As part of this unit, they have learned about the function and structure of DNA and the events leading up to the discovery of the structure of the DNA molecule in 1953. James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins were awarded a Nobel prize for their part in the remarkable discovery in 1962, however at the time, the contribution from Rosalind Franklin was barely acknowledged. The students have been researching the crucial role that Franklin played in the discovery and have produced newspaper articles highlighting her achievements and the discrimination that she suffered.

Mr Knee

Science Department


Year 7 have spent the last few weeks studying reproduction, learning about the male and female reproductive systems, pregnancy, and birth. As a class, they have been challenged to learn lots of new vocabulary and also the spellings of these words. To help the students know and remember more, they have put together leaflets, storyboards and made a vocabulary book.

Mrs Hall

Deputy Headteacher

PGHS Radish Growing Competition

To take advantage of the long days and warmer weather, a number of students are getting involved in a vegetable growing competition as a way of learning about plants. Each of the pupils involved had planted (and in most cases, named) their own radish seed.

Over the next four weeks, as well as nurturing their young seedlings, the girls will learn about the life cycle of plants, the importance of fertiliser for growth, agriculture and the factors that affect photosynthesis. By mid-July, we should have trays full of radishes ready to be harvested.

Once harvested, the girls will have the chance to enter their potentially prize-winning root into the competition. There are a number of categories, including ‘heaviest radish’, ‘longest radish’, ‘most identical pair’ and, at the request of my class, ‘most glamorous radish! Hopefully this project will help the students understand more about the incredible plants that they see everyday and have a greater appreciation of where some of our food comes from.

Mr Coogan

Science Department

Step into the NHS Competition

This year, all students in year 7 took part in the ‘Step into the NHS’ competition. Students were 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.

We are delighted to say that four of our students; Marnie D (7PDE), Maisie K (7GFO), Evie A (7RSN) and Tia W (7SSC), have been shortlisted into the top ten entries in the North West.

Well done, everyone!

Miss Forrest,

Science Department

Science Club

This term, our Science club students have been attending every Wednesday lunch time to take part in a wide range of fun and exciting scientific experiments, investigations and challenges.

Recently, students have created papier-mâché volcanoes which we will erupt next week using a variety of methods. Our scientists have also created lava lamps, investigated the reaction of metals with acid, explored non-Newtonian fluids (oobleck) and grown some fantastic corn plants.

Science club is open to all year 7 and year 8 students. Anyone wanting to attend can just turn up and get involved on Wednesday lunch times at 12:45pm in room 47.

Miss Forrest

Science Department

Lucy W, Katie K and Unaysah P with their volcanoes

‘If you were an Engineer, what would you do?’ Leaders Award Competition

Year 10 took part in the ‘If you were an Engineer, what would you do?’ Leaders Award competition.

The competition challenges students from primary and secondary schools to identify a problem, design a creative solution to their problem and write a letter explaining why an engineer should choose to build their solution.

During the STEM festival, year 10 had a number of lessons to prepare them for the competition.

All the students that entered the competition had their design graded by an engineer and will shortly be receiving a certificate.

The competition organisers were amazed at the fantastic entries that we submitted and at the judging event, two highly commended and two winning entries were chosen from our school. The highly commended were the ones which came very close to winning but ultimately there could only be two winners for each year group for the Lancashire region.

The Highly Commended Entries:

Year 10 Amirah P. “Device Charging Wheelchair”

Year 10 Isabella W. “The Cube”

The Winning Entries:

Year 10 winner – Esha C. “Muscle Relief Suit”

Year 10 winner – Isabel B. “Write-Right”

The winners and the highly commended students attended an awards ceremony at UCLAN on Wednesday 15th June.  The winners were each presented with a winner certificate and trophy.

Mrs Goodwill

Science Department

How do you memorise Physics equations?

As part of the Physics curriculum, your daughter will have to learn 21 equations for her Physics GCSE. How can you help?

A good technique is to make up stories to help remember key formula. We have already discussed many equations with stories attached to them. Why not tell your parents about the following stories?

William’s Fat Shoes W = Fs

My Granny is Happy Ep =  m g h

Your Pet Qev who annoys you   P = I V     P = E / t     Q = E / V   

About the very slow tortoise Miss Forrest has as a pet  v = s / t

What other stories do you remember? What other stories can you make up to help you remember your equations? 

Mrs R Honeyman

Curriculum Leader for Science

Thermal Conductivity

Year 8 have been learning about thermal conductivity as part of one of the 10 big ideas that is ‘Energy’. They have recently spent several lessons learning about how thermal energy is transferred by conduction, convection and radiation. They also completed an investigation on what makes a good thermal insulator and why. To take this one step further, students were asked to design a new school uniform to reduce thermal energy transfer and keep them warm in colder weather. With us still practicing good hand hygiene, ventilating classrooms by opening windows and doors and with a recent vote on the possibility of a new school fleece in the next academic year, this was a great opportunity to use the science that students have learned to try and come up with a practical solution to keep warm. Students came up with some interesting designs. I was most impressed with Amelia Y. She did some research into good insulators and materials that are used in outdoor wear and came up with an excellent design at home with superb detail. She has been awarded with a Head’s Commendation for this work. Not only is her design creative and practical, but well researched.

Mrs R Cahill

Science Department

  • Arts Council England - Artsmark Gold
  • Lancashire Socio-economic Equality Badge
  • School Mental Health Award
  • Ofsted - Outstanding Provider
  • Arts Council England - Artsmark Gold
  • Lancashire Socio-economic Equality Badge
  • School Mental Health Award
  • Ofsted - Outstanding Provider