Friday Headlines

the weekly newsletter from EHS

Prep's aspiring engineers are national winners

28 June 2019

Thanks to the 12 girls who won first place in the Aspire to Engineer, Genetic Engineering challenge, all of Year 6 enjoyed a fantastic trip to the Natural History Museum in London.

We spent time looking at some fantastic exhibits; marvelling at the size of the blue whale, comparing our weight to that of a gazelle, riding the escalator through the Earth, identifying Moon craters in the new 'museum of the Moon', discovering a chunk of the largest gold nugget ever found, gazing in awe at colourful minerals and precious gems, and identifying dinosaurs from their skeletons. Many girls did not want to leave at the end of our experience and are hoping to make a return visit soon.

We also had an opportunity to meet Alex, a PhD student working for the Natural History Museum. In the setting of the amazing David Attenborough Studio, Alex shared with us her experiences of researching the impact of plastics, in particular micro plastics on the wildlife living in the Thames River. 

Staff and students were amazed to learn of the huge biodiversity of creatures living in the Thames, ranging from whales and grey seals to jelly fish, endangered eels and even seahorses! We learned between 30-80% of all the creatures Alex studies in the Thames have around three or four microplastics in their digestive systems. Microplastics are plastics up to 5mm in size which may be fibres from our clothes or parts broken off larger plastic items. We learned how bioaccumulation could cause problems further up the food chain when larger predators eat these animals. 

We asked Alex many questions about her background, research and what we can do to prevent microplastics from entering food chains. The answer was to wash our clothes less frequently, preferably using a special bag to collect synthetic fibres and to use reusable water bottles. Thanks to the EHS Parents’ Association we were all able to hold up our reusable water bottles and were praised by Alex!

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