Mad Scientist Weekender

Posted: 21st December 2023

On 2nd and 3rd December we held our first ever Weekender event, bringing together our day and boarding communities from Years 7 and 8 for a weekend of fun learning activities and a sleepover. We will be running a weekender every term with a different theme. This term, the theme was science, hence the name ‘Mad Scientist Weekender’! We asked Martha and Rina to report back.

During the day on Saturday we did lots of different science activities. We started with an invisible ink experiment with Ms Vatcher. We looked at all the different inks we would use and the different ways to reveal them. We settled on milk and honey as the best inks and used heat to reveal the message.

Mad Scientist Weekender Rina 2
Invisible ink experiment

We had a short break then started another experiment with Ms Quinn. We used iron filings and put them in the fire. It created a small firework effect and we learned that’s how sparklers are made. Then we used splints soaked in different chemicals and put them in the flame which caused it to change colour. Our favourite was copper chloride which changed the flame into a beautiful green.

Mad Scientist Weekender Martha 2
Creating different flame colours with chemicals

To finish off the morning Ms Quinn did two demos which ended in two very big and loud explosions!

After lunch we did a magic beaker experiment where we started out with clear tap water and when we poured it into another glass it changed colour. This was done by adding very small amounts of chemicals in each glass.

In our next experiment we used the Bunsen burner taps to make methane bubbles. Methane is a very flammable gas so Ms Quinn held the bubbles in her hands while Ms Vatcher set it alight and even passed it from one hand to the other which made a very big flame that almost hit the ceiling!

Next, we looked at static electricity and used a Van de Graaff generator to make our hair fly in the air. It works by building up a positive charge in your hair making each hair repel from each other, that’s why it flies up. When doing the experiment you stand on an insulating box so that you don’t discharge. This experiment had to be our favourite out of all of them.

Mad Scientist Weekender Martha
Martha on the Van de Graaff generator

Our last activity of the day was making our own universal indicators. We used different fruits and vegetables then mixed them with ethanol. They made so many different colours but we think red cabbage was the best.

Then we had a snack and ended the science activities for the first day.

We put our things in our room then went to Silverdale to do a scavenger hunt. This was a great way to explore the main boarding house, which is huge!

After the scavenger hunt we had dinner then we had an amazing pamper night with nail painting, a movie, snacks, facemasks and even a chocolate fountain!

When we woke up we got to play all the games the boarders enjoy at the weekend like table football and Dirt 5 on the playstation.

We had a delicious breakfast and started heading to the coach which took us to the Science museum in London. We had a look around all the exhibits, our favourites were the film production area and ‘who am I?’ We all stopped at the shake shack and got delicious chocolate shakes and then had a chance to visit the gift shop before returning to the coach and heading back to Burgess Hill.

WonderLab at the Science Museum

What a great and busy weekend we had! We loved getting to know each other better and cannot wait for the next one!

Martha and Rina