Students all steamed up over science

They may no longer be state-of-the art technology but it seems the heritage steam engines of the North Norfolk Railway still have a lot to offer when it comes to helping children learn about science.

They may no longer be state-of-the art technology but it seems the heritage steam engines of the North Norfolk Railway still have a lot to offer when it comes to helping children learn about science.

Year eight pupils from Sheringham High School were thrilled to be able to get out of the classroom and make tracks to learn more about physics in an educational first for the Poppy Line yesterday.

In a pioneering project the children got to see at first hand how the theories on forces, energy and velocity they had been studying at school applied out in the real world.

Poppy Line volunteer, George Carrick, who was helping with the day said: “The youngsters can study certain aspects of their course by using a train journey and the steam engine.


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“It helps them to see how science applies in their everyday life and shows them that science is everywhere.

“This is proactive physics. It is unique as far as we know and there is no other railway in the country doing this.”

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During the day students investigated how steam can be used to produce energy and examined aspects of the train's motion and speed as they chugged through the picturesque north Norfolk countryside.

They also explored the efficiency of various fuel sources to judge the effectiveness of coal as a steam engine fuel.

Science teacher Jamie Smith said: “This is fantastic. We can learn lessons in the classroom but when you have 130 tonne engine to help it does make a difference and has more of an impact.

“Hopefully this is something we will see an awful lot more of - industry and education coming together.”

And after a hard half hour of travel and experiments there was not a frown to be seen amongst the school group as they piled out of the train at Holt ready to learn even more.

Olivia Charman, 12, said: “It does help to be out of the classroom and we have learnt lots.

“We learnt that steam makes energy and my favourite experiment was when we had to make steam push round a propeller.”

Her classmate James Warboys, also 12, added that he would like to do a lot more science lessons out of the classroom.

The seventh North Norfolk Railway beer festival will take place between Friday, July 18, and Sunday, July 20. There will be over 70 beers on offer.

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