UWE BoxED at Bailey’s Court Primary School

image4-FEATDuring late April and May children in year 5 at Bailey’s Court Primary School have been involved in a science project with the BoxED team from the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE), Drs Jon Winfield and Debbie Lewis on Microbial Fuel cells – an alternative way to produce ‘green’ energy from bacteria.

Pupils were tasked with finding bacteria in the playground capable of producing electricity and they did just that!

To begin with they had to build the bacteria a home, called a microbial fuel cell.  Within the fuel cell, bacteria were well nourished by the children over the course of the project and rewards for their effort they began to see electricity being produced.  Electricity is the waste product of the bacteria as they metabolise, or eat, the food the pupils gave them.

During the course of the project the pupils also had the opportunity to find how well (or not!) they wash their hands by using a special glow cream (which is invisible until a UV light is shown on it), do an experiment to see how easily ‘bacteria’ aka glow cream could spread from person to person and even grow their own bacteria from hands on special jelly called agar.  They began to appreciate that bacteria are all around us, some good, some bad but washing your hands well prevents bacteria spreading.

image3-webBradley Stoke & Little Stoke Gifford Matters was delighted to be invited along to the final session at Bailey’s Court where the pupils became engineers, being challenged with building a wind turbine out of waste materials to produce as much energy as possible when powered by wind.  The pupils had to consider what was required to make the most effective fan – 2 blades or 4, plastic or cupboard, angled blades or flat.  Pupils learned that engineers need to build, test and then modify their designs to produce the best results.  The session closed with an opportunity to link all the teams’ microbial fuels cells together and show the pupils that combined they could power small electrical appliances, such as an LED and electronic thermometer!

This article was first printed in the June edition of Little Stoke Gifford Matters

Tags: , , , , , Back to news