Research Can Be Fun at University of Sussex
A group of Year 10 higher ability students from Longhill High School visited the University of Sussex recently to take part in a widening participation event. As well as having a look around the impressive university campus and sampling the delights of one of its cafeterias, the students took part in two interactive workshops.
The morning session was a computing challenge where students had an opportunity to experiment with coding their own ‘Internet of Things’ system. Student Tommy explained, “We loaded a game onto a tiny console and then added our own coding to analyse and change the way it worked. We entered new coding to alter the way the game would respond, the positioning of controls, the heat of the battery – all the things that would help to improve performance.”
The next session was called ’Shaping Sound’ and was perfect for those with a keen interest in physics. Tommy and his friend told us, “It was really clever, because we could ‘see’ the soundwaves, or actually we could feel them on our hands.” They went on, “The sound frequencies they used were really high ones and they bounced off the nerves in our hands, so they felt like air. The teacher also put tiny polystyrene beads into the sound wave machine and you could see them bouncing up and down as the waves hit them.”
“They also showed us how sound waves can bend around your body and move from in front to behind you. They will use this research to make better speakers.”
Students were able to ask questions of the University Student Ambassadors, who told them something of life on campus, the different courses available, as well as funding and accommodation options.
We asked the students if they had enjoyed the trip. “I really enjoyed seeing how much science is progressing;” said Tommy. “I like physics and could see that people work really hard to research things and test them to their limits. Research can lead to unexpected discoveries and breakthroughs – it’s something I’d like to do in the future.”
Thanks to University of Sussex for giving our students the opportunity to attend these exciting workshops.