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Cambridge University

Residential Taster Days for Year 12

During the Easter holidays 5 students visited Peterhouse College in Cambridge for a residential experience with the view to study at the University of Cambridge.

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On arrival and once settled into accommodation, students attended a presentation on the process of applying to Oxbridge.

This was followed by a tour of Peterhouse, the oldest college in Cambridge, in glorious weather which showcased the 'Deer Park' (no deer unfortunately), with its fantastic array of spring flowers.

The students were then split into two groups. One went to the Fitzwilliam Museum to look at artwork and to deconstruct meaning behind symbolism. The other group went to the Scott Polar Museum where they were tasked with compiling a list of essential items for an expedition based on the many artefacts on display in the museum.

Students then attended lectures in the subjects they were interested in followed by 'supervisions', which are small group sessions with a senior lecturer where they discussed their topics in detail.

After some free time in Cambridge and dinner in the dining hall students and teachers supervising them had the opportunity to go punting on the River Cam where the Chauffeurs pointed out the various colleges which backed on the river and some interesting facts about each of them.

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On return to Peterhouse students went to the Junior Common Room where students were given a choice of activities for the evening.

The next day after breakfast students went to the Students' Union where the Debating Society organised some interesting debates. This was followed by free time in the town and visits to other colleges

In the final sessions of the day, students were given advice about how to make a competitive application for Cambridge University followed by exploring the subject they hoped to study with undergrads in small groups.

Peterhouse and the other colleges in Cambridge are amazing places and to study there is a true privilege

Quotes from students

Joel Fraser 'It was a great opportunity to hear and experience a little more of what it would be like to do a degree at Oxbridge. I found the tutorial sessions particularly helpful as the chance to engage with a PhD student about their subject was fascinating!'

Katie Marsden 'I had a really good time on the trip and I learned a lot about the town and the University. Seeing all the things you could do there has made me start revising a lot harder for my AS exams!'

Young Enterprise

Rushcliffe Sixth Form Young Enterprise teams were exceptionally successful this year, managing to emerge the top sales team in a recent enterprise challenge and winning a Young Enterprise award.

Twenty students from Rushcliffe School completed the Young Enterprise Company qualification and spent their year working with their business advisers, Chris Davison and Dave Gunn, developing, designing, producing and marketing their ideas and products.

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Rushcliffe had opportunities for two teams to complete the company programme. Students set up 'Entropy', which produced products aimed at re-creating science experiments at home, aimed at children between 8 – 12 years and Herbilicous, a company selling a range of personalised gardening sets with an accompanying gardening book.

In February, students competed with other school in selling their products in Nottingham Market square. The success of both teams was apparent early on when their exceptional sales teams managed to sell all products by the end of the day.

Students went on to present their ideas at the Young Enterprise finals and were successful in winning a Young Enterprise award.

Sabiha Saqib, the Managing Director of Herbilicous said "The process as a whole has helped me understand how to manage a team effectively and the advantages of networking with others. We were pleased our school, out of sixteen teams, was the only one to successfully sell all our products"

 

Neuroscience Trip

science001Nottingham University's annual event for Brain Awareness week was the perfect trip for neuroscience. This started with some very interesting lectures on Schizophrenia and brain development, followed by interactive activities covering topics such as emotions, memory, navigation, gambling and multi- sensory illusions. As well as a tour of a technologically advanced facility (i.e. NITES- the Nottingham Integrated Transport and Environment Simulation) lab.
The event kicked off with various different demonstrations that provided us with an interactive introduction to neural anatomy and function. Until this point, I don't think I had ever fully appreciated the brain for all its complexity and functions. Did you know that scientists still aren't sure about how the brain actually works? The closest they've come to answering that question so far is by performing many MRI and CT scans to get a good idea about which parts of the brain are associated with which disease or emotional state etc. This is precisely what we learned with the help of a few practical demonstrations exploring these ideas and a look at the latest state-of-the-art 3D brain visualization software. We also learned about the complexity of mental illness with reference to Schizophrenia- one of the few most varied mental illnesses known to man. We discovered the different parts of the brain associated with symptoms of Schizophrenia and what possible causes could lead to the mental illness, all of which are extremely variable depending on the individual.

Following this kick-starter, we were given a hands-on tour of NITES, the Nottingham Integrated Transport and Environment Simulation. Nothing could have prepared me for just how cool this was. For the gamer-girl inside me, this was definitely the biggest highlight. Imagine an accurate 3D simulation of Nottingham on a gigantic screen at your fingertips- and you get to cycle or drive through it! Oh yes, we are talking serious gaming potential here people. But in all seriousness, let's take a look at the research side of this advanced technology for a moment. NITES has received immense amounts of funding from many different agencies to carry out research projects with regards to driving and cycling. With it being one of the most accurate on-the-road simulations out there, NITES is where both motorists and cyclists are put to the test. Whether it's concerning how well you drive the morning after a night out or the effectiveness of Bluetooth devices, NITES is where these questions are answered in the safest and most accurately-real-life environment.

After the tour of this potentially-awesome-gaming-platform, we went through a series of interactive activities organised by PhD students with many different themes ranging from memory, gambling, multi-sensory illusions and brain communication. Ever wanted to lift an object with the power of your mind? Well now you can, with the Star Wars Force Trainer- a simplified version of EEG technology. EEG (electroencephalography) is a method that enables us to record signals from the surface of the brain in response to what we see, hear, touch and even think. This advanced technology is extremely useful for developing our understanding of how various cells in the brain communicate with each other so that we can see, hear, touch and think in the way that we do. Unlike the Star Wars Force Trainer, the real EEG is very sensitive, and so is encased in a box (quite like a really small room) with thick metal walls that keep out all signals which will interfere with the results obtained from the EEG. Pretty cool right?

Well this is exactly what a group of A-level psychology and biology students (including myself) got to experience this year (Big thanks to Mrs Gunn!). Look like something you might be interested in? Then keep your eyes peeled for the next annual Brain Awareness Week Event in 2016 hosted by the University of Nottingham. See you there!

Year 13 trip to CERN

In February this year, the Year 13 physicists flew to Switzerland for the annual physics CERN trip. The trip is centred on CERN itself and the opportunity to see the Large Hadron Collider, which is at the forefront of modern physics. However, we also got the chance to see the very best of the beautiful city of Geneva.

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Our time in Geneva began in a fantastic and very classically Swiss fondue restaurant, which was a great introduction to the food and culture. The next day was spent touring Geneva – by foot and by boat! We saw some famous landmarks, including the Jet d'Eau geyser in Lake Geneva (459 feet high) and the St Pierre Cathedral (with excellent views and photo opportunities). We also had the chance to visit the shops, allowing us to get a taste of Swiss chocolate.

The highlight of the trip, however, would have to be the visit to CERN. Seeing the CMS detector in real life was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it was truly amazing. We also learned about some of CERN's most recent projects and even saw the main control room! The day was finished off with a pizza and bowling (at which I was definitely the worst), which was a really fun way to spend our last night there.

Overall, we had a fantastic time in Switzerland – it was both an amazing experience and a great deal of fun! To future Year 13's, whether you're taking physics to A2 or not, I would highly recommend going – we had a great time that will always stay with us.

Ellie Griffiths

Year 12 Visit the Houses of Parliament

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The day began at 7.30 am on the concourse of Nottingham Station. All pupils arrived in time to catch the 7.55 am train to London St Pancras. On arrival, we caught the underground to Leicester Square and then walked through the famous streets to Covent Garden. There, pupils were awarded some free time and we all had brunch. From Covent Garden we walked along the Embankment, past The London Eye and up to the Palace of Westminster. The session began with a tour of the Palace and as parliament was not sitting, we were able to actually stand (but not sit!) in the House of Commons, touching the despatch box and seeing at first hand where many famous politicians had both triumphed and also met ill-fated ends. We were then taken to a Committee Room and the inner workings of parliamentary government and executive scrutiny were explained. Our guide continued to show us around Westminster, taking us around the corridors of power and explaining the day-to-day workings of parliament. After this, we re-convened in the Grand Committee Room where we debated with another 6th form from Reading. We were required to advocate the roles that committees play in the parliamentary process in an attempt to justify their existence, our opponents on the other hand painted a very different picture in terms of their lack of value for money and inability to have any real influence on government policy as their findings are not binding. With the debate well and truly won by Rushcliffe, and the School from Reading sent packing by the intuitive introductory contributions from Masie Caro, the notable rebuttals from Charlie Mcshane and the exquisite final summary by Emma Jenkins (amongst others), it was off to the House of Lords to watch a debate on the NHS in the UK today. Once our time at Westminster was completed, we walked through Parliament Square, up Whitehall and past Downing Street before stopping briefly at Trafalgar Square for a late lunch. It was then back on the tube and train, before arriving back in Nottingham at 6pm. A fantastic day had by all many thanks to all that attended!

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