School pupils visited one of the world’s most advanced research ships

Monday 17 March 2014

Students from Ark Franklin Primary Academy were invited for a very special visit to Southampton to be a part of Ocean and Earth Day 2014. 16 children made the journey with great excitement and they were not disappointed. We were welcomed by a member of the NOC team and escorted to the awesome research boat RRS Discovery. The children also had hands on experiences at the touch pool, meeting some local rock pool ‘residents’ such as starfish, crabs and sea urchins! They were able to create their own little fossils and other fishy crafts!


The excitement of the children can be seen in some of the quotes below!

Quotes from the children -

'I had a great day because I saw the amazing boat and the captain and a lobster...and it was alive!' Taemur Khan

'I had a fun day. I saw the starfish and it was spikey.' Sarah Salim

I had a nice day because I made a fossil and I was excited because I saw the big boat.' Alishba Siddiqui

'The best part was touching a starfish and seeing the boat and the captain!' Miriam Chehade

These were just a few quotes on the bus back but my favourite quote of the day, while we were walking around the centre, was by a very excited Juan Jose Bedoya...'Miss Parry I really want to see more science!'

The £75 million RRS (Royal Research Ship) Discovery – named in honour of the ship Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton took to Antarctica – is one of the most expensive research vessels ever built, intended to help Britain rule the waves in scientific exploration.

Children from ARK Franklin Academy in Kensal Rise, West London were able to stand alongside the ship while it is moored in Southampton during Science and Engineering Week. We met the Captain himself and learnt all about the capabilities of this research vessel. At 100 metres long and with seven state of the art laboratories, the ship also carries a robotic submarine in order to access hard-to-reach parts of the ocean. Launched by the Princess Royal last year, RRS Discovery is one of four vessels owned by the Natural Environment Research Council, meaning the UK now has one of the largest academic fleets in the world. The ship will help to map the depths of the oceans, which remain a mystery to humans. New species are being discovered on a daily basis and we have more detailed maps of the surface of Mars than of the ocean floor.

Captain Scott’s original Discovery spent nearly three years exploring the Antarctic oceans at the beginning of the 20th Century. Now moored in Dundee, the voyage was one of the most significant British scientific endeavours – thousands of geological and biological specimens were collected and hundreds of new marine species identified.

The school itself, ARK Franklin, is named after Rosalind Franklin, the scientist who played a key role in the discovery of the structure of DNA, who was born a mile or so away from the school in Notting Hill in 1920. ARK Schools’ science curriculum is designed to respond to children’s desire for knowledge and moves further and faster than the National curriculum. At ARK Franklin, science is taught as a separate subject and pupils are able to take part in investigative activities and experiments through which they acquire and develop scientific knowledge, skills and understanding.


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