Pupils from Archbishop McGrath RC Comprehensive School in Bridgend, were joined recently in the ‘Lab in a Lorry’ by Conservative AM for South Wales West, Suzy Davies.
The mobile laboratory, owned by the Institute of Physics, tours Wales giving pupils a chance to hop aboard and take part in a variety of experiments involving basic physics.
Mrs Davies said: “This lab is great for making physics jump off the page or screen. This visit was all about understanding sound and light and seeing how that knowledge transfers to real applications. Not many GCSE students get to practise with the kind of equipment you would use in keyhole surgery.
“Taking the fear out of physics and making it enjoyable and meaningful is part of encouraging children to consider a career which involves science – its applications go well beyond the white coat and the lab.
“It’s also part of encouraging the next generation of teachers. Wales needs enough science teachers to prepare the workforce we will need to turn research into opportunities for an economy based on knowledge, service and manufacturing.
“The fact that the tiny number of full time staff on the lorry are supported by volunteers from the local community is key to the success of this lab. Coming from local industry, they bring their own life-experiences to the project and show pupils that ‘people like them’ can use science in so many ways and build a fulfilling career on what they are learning. I was very impressed.”
Wales is now the only part of the UK that has the use of a lab in a lorry as funding for doing the work in other parts of the country has ceased. The Institute also helps schools with the training of science teachers.