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Our young reporters spend a day at Norwich Science Festival - and here’s the results

PUBLISHED: 17:25 25 October 2016 | UPDATED: 18:21 25 October 2016

Mad Scientists at Norwich Science Festival

Mad Scientists at Norwich Science Festival

Archant

As part of the Norwich Science Festival David Powles, Evening News editor and EDP deputy editor, teamed up with Norwich arts group Culture Works East to give eight teenagers the experience of being young journalists for the day. Eleanor Townshend, 19, Ellen Jay, Hannah Hudson, Caitlin Bedingfield, Harry Discombe, all 17, and Sabrina Johnson, 24, report on yesterday’s events, while Becky Moore and Annie Cooper took the photos.

FUN FOR EVERYONE

Where else would you find the founding geneticist of the Norfolk Police forensic laboratory, rubbing shoulders with a PE teacher and a seven-year-old who has decided they would one day like to venture into space?

The answer is the Norwich Science festival, the two-week-long event which is proving to be a huge success with visitors of all ages.

Dr Mandy Hartley, 42, of New Buckenham, presents the Ultimate Aliens show, which visited the festival yesterday. The doctor of genetics takes her audience on a journey to a planet where aliens need to be able to survive food shortages and disease, and where only those with a specific genetic mutation can survive the music of One Direction!

Young journalists at Norwich Science FestivalYoung journalists at Norwich Science Festival

“The aim of the show is to teach kids about evolution and natural selection… and to make a complicated topic jump off the page,” she said.

Elsewhere, Adam, six, and Oliver, seven, along with their mothers, Clair Goddard and Suzanne Porter, of Lowestoft, had just visited the immersive 3D planetarium.

Both youngsters said it felt like they were in space, but it was Oliver who came away saying he would one day like to follow in Tim Peak’s footsteps.

Zoe, six, at Norwich Science FestivalZoe, six, at Norwich Science Festival

SCIENTISTS OF THE FUTURE

We’re halfway through the Norwich Science Festival and starting to think about how this brand new event can help turn the children of Norwich into the scientists of the future.

In The Forum, the Norwich Puppet Theatre activity table is surrounded by children for Puppets in Space, where everyone is getting involved and making a mess. The idea is to create puppets and collage aliens or spacemen, but some just seem to be embracing the creativity.

Zara, one of the people running the activity, said the festival was helping children to “experiment with different things and understand the extent and variety of science”.

A childminder, Vicki, surrounded by six children between the ages of two and 14, tells how they got involved in the Puppets in Space activity and have come away with lots of alien and spaceman puppets.

Another creative activity was the Ready Steady Lego challenge in the library. Lots of children using their imagination to build whatever they want. Collette, a 10-year-old joining in, talks about the Lego garden she is creating and how much she is enjoying the festival.

One parent, Ida, is already a scientist so was looking to excite her five and eight-year-old children in science. She really loved the idea of “hands-on science getting children engaged” and believes that it is great for Norwich to utilise “the Norwich Research Park, the University of East Anglia and all of the experts we have on hand”.

A FANTASTIC FIRST

A room filled with hundreds of children, running around with excitement in their eyes and wonder in their imagination. Parents, filled with anticipation.

Could this be the day my child finds their calling? Could this be the day science worms its way into my child’s heart? Just wait and see...

The science festival’s first year in Norwich didn’t disappoint. Science is a key part of everyone’s life, but most of the time we don’t know its impact or its importance.

This festival shows how much of a part in a children’s life science actually plays.

One mother, with three children under eight said that being “exposed to science” was extremely important for their future and the science festival offers ‘science with links to everyone life’ in bucket loads.

The variety of the festival has helped make it a real success, alongside the many interactive features.

NINE THINGS YOU CAN LEARN AT NORWICH SCIENCE FESTIVAL

1. What the Large Hadron Collider actually is. CERN is the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, based in Switzerland, which between 1998 and 2008 built the Large Hadron Collider as the most powerful particle accelerator in the world.

2. You probably aren’t just “British”. DNA from bodies of our ancient relatives has been found to contain DNA from all over the world, and chances are, your DNA is the same. You’ve probably got roots from Africa, North America and other continents.

3. The red blood cell is the only cell in your body that doesn’t contain your DNA.

4. The are 37 trillion cells in our body, each containing two metres of DNA That’s 74 million kilometres of DNA, all tightly compacted into our bodies.

5. Sometimes, a little can really mean a lot. One gram of our DNA contains more information than the entire internet. That’s a lot of information.

6. Cosmic rays pass through our bodies daily. High energy particles that still exist from when the Earth was created are whizzing around the atmosphere as we speak. They come from outer space and pass through our bodies every single day, so we really are all stars.

7. The planet will have it’s biggest change over the next four years. The urban population of the world will double, meaning more pollution and gases, warming our planet. People are working all around the world to make more sustainable living areas to slow this change.

8. What it’s like to be caught in a carnivorous plant.

Carnivorous plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Whether it’s the common Venus flytrap or a pitcher plant that can grow to the size of humans and eat mammals such as rabbits and shrews, they all have a common way of catching their meals. They use sweet smelling sap-like liquid to lure in the animals or insects, and then snap shut to catch the unsuspecting prey. ‘Digestive juices’ are then secreted by the plant to break down the flesh of their soon-to-be dinner. Yuck!

9. You can visit the International Space Station (ISS) for just £3.

Well, not literally. But the planetarium on site at the Norwich Forum gives you a pretty good idea. Whilst laying on the ground, a 3D video is played, taken from the ISS itself. The video shows Tim Peakes dramatic lift off and planets and rockets actually come towards you from outer space via the no-glasses 3D video. Pretty darn cool.

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