Making physics matter

Budding young scientists from Redditch and Studley put their knowledge to the test during a particle physics workshop earlier this month.

The 24 Year 6 pupils from Birchensale Middle School, Walkwood CE Middle School and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, in Studley, made models, comic strips and even acted out a short play. They also discovered what happens when matter and anti-matter collide: annihilation. (Pictured right, particles Tau and anti tau).

The event, held at Birchensale Middle School, gave a sneak preview of science normally taught in high school. The workshop was the first of many events organised by the newly formed Redditch & Bromsgrove Ogden Primary Science Partnership, which will run over the next few years.

Ben Wilkes, Ogden Teacher Fellow and Head of Science at the school introduced the day as "a most extraordinary opportunity and even more exciting than a normal science lesson (if that's possible)!"

Event organiser, Christine Brown is Parent Governor at the school with responsibility for science, she is also head of the new Ogden Board of Science Governors: "The aim of events like these is to enthuse the pupils about science and encourage them to continue studying these subjects as they get older and judging from the pupil’s comments after the session it was certainly a hit. I’m particularly keen to raise awareness with pupils, parents and school staff about the amazing possibilities that open up for students of STEM subjects and the big demand there is for engineers and technicians in our exciting manufacturing future.” 

From the children: I learnt...

'...that there are lots of different particle families'

'...that every quark has an anti-quark an if they touch they annihilate.'

'...that light is both a particle and a wave'

'...that neutrino particles pass through our bodies without us noticing'

'...that atoms have protons, neutrons and electrons'

The workshop was run by Dr Jenny Watson who is the assistant director of learning at King Edward VI Five Ways Phiz Lab, Birmingham: “what wonderful, interested and creative children! A pleasure to teach!"


A version of this article first appeared in the online Redditch Advertiser.