Young scientists turn detective for a day

Friday 16 June 2017

A top team of young scientists was scrambled from four Leeds primary schools this week to help The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) biology department solve the mystery of their poisoned locust.

GSAL teachers devised the scenario, in which a locust had been poisoned by contaminated grass delivered to school, to provide a fun science activity for visiting pupils. The pupils conducted a forensic examination of a variety of evidence to narrow down the field of five suspects.

Tests conducted by the pupils, with help from GSAL sixth form students, included studying pollen grains under a microscope and analysing fingerprints. They also conducted pH tests and chemical analysis on samples to identify substances and try to detect the culprit.

Using the science laboratories and equipment at GSAL gave the Year 5 pupils, from the primary schools Little London, Swarcliffe, St Luke’s Beeston Hill and Immaculate Heart of Mary, a taste of what to expect in their science lessons when the time comes to start high school.

Nicola N’Dure, teaching assistant at Little London, said: “We picked four keen young scientists and they seem to be having a really good time exploring. It’s a great experience of high school science.”

Kyro, aged 10, from St Luke’s, said: “I like how we used forensics to uncover who was contaminating the grass which killed the locust, and solve the mystery.”

Maria Bates, teaching assistant from Swarcliffe, said: “The pupils really enjoyed the opportunity to do hands-on practical science and different experiments; it’s been a great learning experience. They showed great teamwork and worked well with their sixth form helper.”

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