11 Jun A Day at the Cheltenham Science Festival
Tuesday 5th June 2018
Written by Duncan, Ciaran and Ben – Year 9 student reporters
The day started off at the University of Warwick in the coach park, where we all met up. It was so great to see everyone and catch up. We were all being rewarded with a two-year scholarship by the Warwick Sutton Scholarships.
Very soon after our arrival, we collected our delicious lunch for the day from the back of the car, and not long after, the coach arrived. Everyone herded into the coach. The driver must have been terrified. Then we sat down in our seats and set off for Cheltenham. We were on the coach for about an hour and a half and we all socialised with the other schools that accompanied us on our journey. There was a lot of noise for the entirety of the journey from the excited Year 9 students. Most kept themselves busy with playing games on their phones and Ciaran even brought his tablet and watched a film!
Then finally, after the long journey came to an end, we all left the coach and arrived at the Cheltenham Science festival! After a quick visit to the toilets, we headed over to the Arena, where we sat down and watched a presentation about the Earth. The presentation was about ‘Our Wild World’ – the oceans, glaciers, deserts, jungles and mountains. We learned lots of interesting facts about jungle creatures and wildlife. The ocean was fun to learn about, especially the part when we looked at a picture of a blob fish (it looked very funny.) We were then visually taken to stunning clips of mountains and glaciers.
After hearing all of those interesting facts and a loud model volcano eruption, we set off to the Cyber Zone. There, we messed around with several interesting technological advancements, including digital rock paper scissors, where the computers could recognise human hand gestures. There was also an Oculus Rift and a HTC Vive virtual reality headset (they made us feel nauseous after using them). We spent some time learning how personal online passwords were decoded by the cyber experts. We felt shocked to see how easily things were done in front of our eyes.
We had an hour and a half to play with everything and even better, to eat our lunch! We were all provided with a scrumptious packed lunch, which we tucked into after a hard session of gaming and technology.
Our next stop was the super fun Discovery Zone. This was by far our favourite part. You could: build a car, test models, crack codes, play games, build model hydraulics, break into a safe, play with robots and so much more. Duncan, Ciaran and Ben did a speed challenge where we had to construct a miniature car in the fastest time possible. We did pretty well over all but we didn’t do too well on the last attempt. Another activity we did was playing a game where X-box controllers were used and we had to escape a spaceship in virtual reality (It was massively incredible!). Then, unfortunately, it was time for us to move on.
My (Ben’s) favourite part was having a go at virtual reality for the first time ever.
My (Duncan’s) favourite part was when we played with model hydraulics such as cranes, bridges and diggers.
My (Ciaran’s) favourite part was showing off my maths skills on the vault breaking activity.
My (Jason’s) favourite part was playing bop-it.
After the jam-packed session, we all went outside to take a group photo before departing. We then located the coach and started our journey back to Coventry.
Looking through the glass windows of the coach on the journey home, we relived what we had experienced throughout the day. It was fast moving and full of interactive activities for all of us. We felt privileged to be there. There were many moments we held our breath in awe with all the modern technologies on display in front of us. We enjoyed talking to the wizard technologists, cyber experts, scientists and engineers around us. It was such an inspiring day for all of us.
We want to thank Miss Baljit Gill – the Widening Participation and Outreach Manager, Miss Maria Kehr – the Outreach Coordinator of the Warwick Sutton Scholars, and all of the Sutton Scholars mentors who organised this amazing trip for us.
“Science is simply the word we use to describe a method of organising our curiosity”.