STEM project Plymouth Aquarium

On Wednesday 15th March a group of "More Able and Talented" children visited the National Marine Aquarium to make part in some STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) activities.  The focus for the day was Understanding Artificial Reefs.
Activity 1 - understanding hydraulics.
The children learned how hydraulics and pneumatics worked and built hydraulic claws in order to grab elements.
In real life scientists use hydraulics under the water because the pressure is too great for pneumatic machines.
They also looked at Morse Code as a way of sending messages and collaboratively worked to decipher short messages.

Activity 3 - mapping the ocean floor.
It is important that scientists know what the ocean floor looks like so that artificial reefs can be sunk onto level ground and not on an already existing habitat.
The children learned about topography and one way the ocean floor used to be mapped.

Activity 2 - learning about buoyancy.
In order to create an artificial habitats under the water, the materials have to get to the bottom of the ocean.  So that they don't break up they have to be sunk slowly.  In addition to this submarines carrying humans have to sink into the sea slowly so that the air in our bodies does not compress to fast from the pressure.
The children learned about how different ocean machines need to be positively, neutrally and negatively buoyant.
They created slowly sinking submarines.

Finally, the day was finished by watching the diver's clean the main tank.  The children also learned about communicating under the water.  Archie tried to call to him, but the glass was too thick!
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