Ocean Challenges

The Big Ocean Challenge: saving the seas

DSC, together with BAE Systems, are working with Dorset schools to help find solutions to one of the World’s biggest problems – the deteriorating health of our seas.
Interactive, weeklong sessions, create the opportunity for year 6 children to define and tackle their own Ocean Challenge. Teams of four undertake a project based on research and scientific understanding to solve real-life challenges. Through design, build, and test exercises, they will apply critical thinking to a range of issues affecting the health of our oceans. Featuring guest speakers, Year 6 pupils have the chance to meet the engineers, scientists, and technicians on the front line of climate change, in the heart of where the action happens.
The Ocean Challenge experience takes place in a business-like setting and students attend each weekday for a week.
At the first pilot, starting on 6th June, Catarina Lopes, of Ocean Generation, will introduce the Oceaneers to the history and challenges of life in the ocean.
As well as training as Oceaneers, saving the oceans through engineering,  students will be using Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Explorer to grow personal confidence and gain experience in team working.
Pilot workshops are taking place at the STEM Education Portal recently opened by BAE Systems, Christchurch. contact Jan Peters, Co-founder at jan.peters@katalytik.co.uk

Does colour affect our choice of food?

We wanted to have some fun and find out which colour food was more appetising. (any excuse for some chocolate!)

Here are the results of our ExperiTent:  Which colours are most appetising? activity.

Orange and purple were the most popular colours. Brown and red were the least popular.

Many people believed that the orange sweet ‘tasted’ of orange (official Smarties do contain a small amount of orange oil added to their outer shells however the sweets we used had no added orange oil).

Some believed they could ‘taste’ other flavours that are associated with the colour (such as banana and raspberry).

Because the colours were all from natural additives some didn’t appear to be very appetising (with the exception of the orange and purple); the brown appeared to be a tan colour and the red were more of a brown colour, which could have put people off choosing these. Plus,  the strong sunshine faded the pink ones!

In conclusion:

  • Bright, strong colours were more popular.
  • Dull, muted colours were least popular.
  • Flavour can sometimes be perceived in response to colour.
  • Orange was mainly chosen because of an expected ‘orange flavour’.
  • Purple was mainly chosen because it was a ‘favourite colour’.

Next time – we’ll use real smarties 🙂

Are all bacteria bad for us?

We’re excited to have Louise Roberts of @AlimentiFoodSciences joining the Experi-Tent on Sunday 11 May She’ll be talking about bugs and food. What else?

Each of us, as an adult, has around 30,000,000,000,000 viable microbes living in our intestines and body, comprising over 400 different species. How much do all these bugs weigh in an average adult? Around 200g, according to the US Library of Medicine.  However, this estimate varies widely. They help to digest food, especially vegetable matter and keep harmful bacteria (or pathogens) at bay.

Louise and Helen Manley will be at the Experi-TENT on the Quomps, Christchurch on 11 and 12 May.  Bring along your questions so you can eat your way to a healthier lifestyle. At the same time gain confidence in how scientists are working to ensure we know what food we are eating and where it comes from.

Read more

Experi-TENT Support

its a mushroom

Food Festival Experi-TENT supported by Outreach Grant

We are bringing science to the Christchurch Food Festival.

The Discover Science Christchurch team have been awarded funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry. We’ll be working hard, recruiting volunteers and designing and practising fun things for you to do on 11 and 12 May.

Our pop up science activity will be at the heart of the Christchurch Food Festival on 11 and 12th May 2019.  Find out more.

The experi-TENT experiences includes hands-on activities, meet and talk to scientists and explore the science in our food. Our aim is to connect around 2000 members of the community to our passion for science.

We’re looking forward to gaining your support for a more permanent science discovery centre in the town.

Activities will include acid and base chemistry, flavour enhancers, food safety and food fraud and more general diet. Our team of volunteers will have a range of experiments and demonstrations as well as Illustrations on display boards.

Competition time!

Two competitions will support the hands-on activities and prompt engagement and discussion with chemists, material scientists and engineers.

Get in touch!

We’d love to hear from you about how to get involved and support us at this event. A training day will take place on 13th April where we will try the hands-on activities and do our risk assessments. Please register to find out more.

Royal Society Chemistry


Experi-TENT at Christchurch Food Festival 2019


Experi-TENT 11 and 12 May 2019

Why does Corn Pop? How much chemistry is in your shopping basket? How safe is your food? How can you be sure where your food comes from? If you can help explain any of these questions we’d love to have you join us in our Experi-TENT at the Christchurch Food Festival on 11 and 12 May on the Quomps in Christchurch. Our Experi-TENT is supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry Outreach Fund.

As well as bringing some science to the festival, we will be having a dialogue about creating a permanent science discovery centre at the end of Christchurch High Street as part of a planned new development in order to engage public input and support.

If you are interested in further details as a visitor or a volunteer please add your details here.

We will manage submitted details in a GDPR compliant process See the Privacy Policy.