Primary School Pupils Welcomed to Our Tomato Challenge!

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Towards the end of term King's Hall hosted an inspirational ‘Tomato Challenge’ – an interactive two-day STEM workshop for Year 6 pupils.

Brainchild of Deputy Head Academic Jane Brazier and Head of DT Becky Cole, the workshop was aimed at local primary school children who were interested in STEM subjects.

We welcomed pupils from St George’s, Parkfield, Wellesley, Creech St Michael and Cheddon Fitzpaine primary schools.

On the first day, the children were presented with a real-life problem faced by many farmers living in mountainous areas: how to transport produce up and down mountain sides. This brought additional cross-curricular benefit as the Head of Geography taught the children about Nepal and the people who live there.

Once split into groups of four, they had to design a ‘pathway’ and container to transport a tomato up and down a slope. With access to the school’s DT workshop and a wealth of materials, such as pulleys, ropes and packaging choices, each group came up with a completely different solution to the problem – testing, modifying and refining their designs based on their findings and test results over the time they had.

This was a fun couple of days, but also included some serious learning. As well as discovering more about Nepal, the Head of Maths also spent time with the children as they learned how to calculate speed, use Pythagoras to calculate length and use DCPIP to compare the Vitamin C content of a tomato compared to other fruit juices – giving them all the chance to use the amazing labs in the school’s brand new Science Faculty. They even investigated the pressure needed to squash a tomato using pressure toadstools and used balloons and cocktail sticks to build models - creating lots of noise in the process!

On the final day, prizes were awarded for Speed, Design and Teamwork. This was followed by some outdoor fun using a sling shot to launch tomatoes through the air, monitoring speed using a trundle wheel and stop watch … oh … and a lot of tomatoes (which surprisingly did not squash!).

Commenting on the workshop, Jane Brazier said:

“Taking an active part in a STEM challenge such as this can inspire and enthuse young people and research suggests this will encourage more of them (boys and girls alike) to pursue STEM subjects at school and in the future.

We were so impressed by the calibre, enthusiasm and team spirit of our first cohort and are really looking forward to opening up the opportunities for children in the Taunton area to participate in STEM activities.”

Due to the success of this workshop, King’s Hall will be running a Saturday morning STEM workshop from mid-February. For details, please contact:Admissions@kingshalltaunton.co.uk

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