Pollution and Engineering

On July 15, 2019

Year Six Science

Post SATs, the Year 6 children have had an exciting time devising and testing out their own scientific experiments. They thought of a diverse range of things to test: How long do different foods take to go mouldy? Which material would keep an egg safest when dropped from a height? How many tablespoons of salt does it take to float an egg? What happens if you add different mints to coke? Does the amount of bicarbonate you add to vinegar affect how much Carbon dioxide gas is produced?  Which material keeps hot water warmest?

Air Pollution and Silverhill School

After an eventful few lessons we had some interesting discussions on air pollution. Everyone thought that the site of Silverhill School would be a low risk area and we were pleased to find out the following information:

Unfortunately, nowhere can really be considered to be “pollution free” as there will be some background pollution in even the most rural of places. The main source of pollution that potentially could impact on the school is from the main road (B4058). However, the school and grounds appear to be set back some distance from the road, with the grounds approximately 27m from the road (discounting the driveway access) and the school buildings are set back further again, with the closest of these at approximately 55m. At this distance, air pollution is unlikely to be a significant issue in the school and are not likely to exceed the national air quality targets because pollutant levels quickly fall away with increasing distance from roads.

We currently monitor air quality, specifically nitrogen dioxide, in Winterbourne alongside the main road by Winterbourne Academy. The monitoring site is within 2m of the road and the monitored concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are below the national target of 40 µg/m3 at this site. The NO2 levels would be likely to be much lower at Silverhill School considering its greater distance from the road. We publish annual air quality reports which include the monitoring results across South Gloucestershire. The latest available report is the 2018 Air Quality Annual Status Report, which can be found here -http://www.southglos.gov.uk//documents/2018-SGC-Air-Quality-Annual-Status-Report.pdf.

For your ease of reference, I have extracted the results for the monitoring site in Winterbourne (site 46) from the above report into the Table below:



From this the children were pleased to deduce that the general trend was a decrease in local air pollution, which was already below the National Target and realised that the Silverhill site would be even lower as it is set so far back from the road. This is all good news!

Primary Engineers Leaders Award 2018-2019

This year, for the first time, Silverhill children from years 5 and 6 took part in a nationwide competition aimed at encouraging children into engineering, ‘If I were an engineer, I would….. ‘

They had to come up with an original invention which would, if made, improve people’s lives. I was really impressed with the group of 10 children who listened to and interviewed an engineer from Thales, watched other on-line presentations, drew their own designs and wrote a letter explaining why their design should be built, all in their own time. Out of the 10 entries, 3 were exhibited at UWE. David and Lochlan received a distinction (shortlisted) and James’s design for an extreme weather resistant house received a Judges’ Highly Commended.  The exhibition included a couple of virtual reality games and a prototype of the winning design from the previous year. Congratulations to all 10 budding engineers. (Aarush, Conor, Jessica, Will, Brooke, Jasper and Jakub). Silverhill is proud of you.