12 December 2012
Heather Cegla and Pedro Lacerda visited the Christ the Redeemer School in Dunmurry to tell the children about the solar system and planets around other stars. As part of the STEPS (Science and Technology Experts in Primary Schools) programme, Heather & Pedro will be assisting the teacher, Gareth Campbell, in guiding the children through two hands-on science projects in the first months of 2013.
One of the projects will consist of studying the formation of craters due to asteroid impacts. The children will drop different objects from different heights onto a container filled with sand to explore how the size of the crater depends on the properties of the object and the impact velocity. They will try to use extrapolation to estimate the size of an asteroid that could cause real damage to their school or to Belfast.
For the other project the children will simulate the detection of extrasolar planets using the transit method. They will use different sized objects (planets) at different distances from the light source (star) to study how the way the light dims as the object passes in front of the star can tell us about the size of the planets and its distance from star. The children will also build a mini-planetary system.
The projects will be carried out in the first months of 2013 and will be part of an exhibition at the end of the school year.