Year 6 had a visitor from a very special STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) ambassador today. Dr Rinke Vinkenoog is a lecturer at Northumbria University and he came in to teach the children about evolution and adaptation. Rinke was also Mr Bell's lecturer when he was at University studying for his MSc in Biotechnology seven years ago.
Chris, a STEM ambassador and student of Rinke's at Northumbria University, also came to help deliver the session. It was great to have 'real scientists' share their incredible knowledge and expertise with us.
At approximately 5.56pm on Wednesday 7th February, an original 'Rilee' painting was stolen from the grounds of Westerhope Primary School. The lost work of French landscape artist Marcel Rilee - said to be worth a minimum of £30,000 pounds - had been on display in the front entrance of the school for over a week and heavily guarded throughout the day.
Twelve suspects are due to be questioned by police as they were known to still be on the premises around the time of the theft. Evidence has been collected and is pending inspection by the children of Westerhope Primary School who will use their Forensic Science skills to assist police in identifying the culprit.
Here's a snapshot of our two days spent as forensic scientists!
'Who Dunnit' Launch Assembly
Marcel Riley turned up to collect his painting - he wasn't pleased when we had to tell him it had gone missing. We looked at the evidence trail that had been left by the culprit and decided who would investigate what.
We searched the school grounds for any sign of fingerprints. When we found one we used the magnifying glasses to look at them closely. We found a pink fingerprint in the crime scene which matched Mr Devlin's fingerprint!
Year 1 investigated the footprint at the scene of the crime.
Year 2 investigated the fingerprints left at the scene of the crime.
Year 3 investigated arm length and practised taking accurate measurements. They were able to tell how long the culprits arm would have had to have been in order to remove the painting from the secure display.
Year 4 investigated the ransom note that was left at the crime scene. By using chromatography they were able to identify the pen that was used to write the note. They looked at the patterns each pen left on the chromatography paper and interpreted their results in a variety of ways. They were able to narrow the search to just 4 suspects!
Year 5 found a mysterious powder left at the crime scene. They searched the school for a variety of powders and analysed samples of each in a series of mini investigations. They used microscopes to look at the structure of the powder and iodine to determine if it contained starch. They were able to determine that the powder was indeed corn starch - an item on Mr Devlin's bio.
Year 5 also enjoyed using chromatography to confirm the results from year 4 and 6. They were also lucky enough to have help from a STEM ambassador - a biomedicine student from Northumbria University.
Year 6 used the ransom note left at the crime scene to determine which pen was used to write it. They developed new vocabulary such as stationary phase, mobile phase, solvent etc to discuss the patterns they were observing when the inks travelled up the paper. The children represented their results as a graph and were able to narrow the suspects down to just four.
On day two, we applied our maths skills to determine the height of the culprit using the footprint left at the scene of the crime. They learnt that the length of a person's foot is approximately 15% of his/her height. They used this information to determine the approximate height of the culprit.
Delivering the evidence in assembly and identifying the culprit.
Despite identifying Mr Devlin as the culprit, it came to light that it was in fact Mr Bell and Mrs Dawes who set the whole thing up as a way of getting the children to work scientifically. The painting wasn't missing after all!
Thursday 1st February
Year 3 had a visit today from a nutritionist today to help us understand what we should be eating to keep our bodies healthy. She showed us the healthy eating plate and we had to decide which foods went into each group. She was very impressed with our knowledge and we scored 15/15 in the end of session quiz. Well done Year 3.
Wow! Year 4 have been amazing scientists! They observed, investigated and researched states of matter and the water cycle. They then presented their work to Year 3 at a Science Fair. We were very impressed with their progress.