STUDENTS at New College found out more about the fun side of science in a number of workshops and displays.

Around 300 Year 9 students from schools around the town turned out to the college to take part in a day dedicated to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

Youngsters not only had a chance to find out more about career options open to them if they chose to continue their science, engineering and technological studies but also to take part in a number of workshops, including building your own DNA, and having a go at building models powered by balloons and rockets.

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Science or magic? St John’s School student Alex Sadler waits in vain for a balloon to pop

They were also able to witness a number of presentations, including one about liquid nitrogen and the different effects it could have on different objects led by Dr Christian Frost from the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Dr Stephanie Foreman, team leader for maths and science at New College, said: “There was a presentation by Dr Frost on liquid nitrogen and the effect it has on marbles or oranges.

“It makes them rock hard and if you put flowers in it, it makes them really brittle and crumbly.

“Guest speaker Dr Jonathan Hare kicked things off with a talk about the science in Hollywood films, like in Moon and the physics behind that.

“There were two workshops held by Dyson and there was a competition to get the slowest marble going down a particular run.

“There was another workshop about extracting DNA from archaeological bones.”

Pupils from Dorcan Academy, Isambard Community School, Churchfields Academy, Ridgeway School, Nova Hreod College and Highworth Warneford took part in the day.

Dr Foreman said: “The feedback was wonderful – all the students enjoyed it and were excited.

“It’s all about encouraging students to think about careers in science and technology and engineering, which are undersubscribed at the moment.

“Feedback from pupils and staff was extremely positive with our diverse, interactive, and often competitive, workshop activities being the most popular.”

Visitors also had a chance to have a go on the Bloodhound Simulator, a mocked up version of the Bloodhound Supersonic Car that can travel faster than the speed of sound.

Dr Foreman said: “The day was highly stimulating and experiences included having a go on the Bloodhound Simulator, building and testing a lighthouse, building a torpedo and extracting DNA.

“This year we had our highest number of STEM Day participants with 300 pupils visiting the college.”

Students also enjoyed the chance to find out more about reptiles and had a chance to hold a snake or a stick insect as part of the Jonathan’s Jungle workshop.