Superheroes science session launches personal development programme

The science behind superhero powers was brought to life for Year 10 students at Ron Dearing University UTC as the first lecture of a packed personal development programme got underway.

Professor Mark Lorch from the University of Hull kick-started the programme of lectures, visits and other activities, starting with The Secret Science of Superheroes for the whole year group of 160 students.

As part of the strong links Ron Dearing UTC has with the university as a Founding Partner, Prof Lorch explained the underpinning science and equations needed for superheroes to draw on their superpowers, such as what Spiderman eats or needs to generate the strength of his spider silk when swinging between buildings and rescuing someone from a fall.

The interactive session saw Prof Lorch carry out practical demonstrations to back up scientific facts and students were asked to volunteer to take part and ask questions, testing their knowledge and understanding.

The session was the first in a series of ten to be led by the University of Hull for Year 10, Year 11 and Sixth Form students, with a specific focus on stretching the most able students in the school.

The programme includes a visit to the University of Hull campus for those aspiring to go on to study for a degree; a Year 11 student and parent session looking at university finances; a robotics workshop; and lectures on medical engineering, mechanical engineering and flood prediction. Personal development sessions are also being planned by the school’s employer partners.

Chris Berry, Lead Practitioner with responsibility for Highly Able students at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “We want to offer our students personal development activities which will maximise the huge opportunities afforded by partnership with the University of Hull and our employer partners which aren’t available in other schools and colleges.  It’s vital that we really challenge our students to think out of the box and become creative thinkers and problem-solvers to give them the edge in the competitive jobs market and university application process.”

“The Secret Science of Superheroes looked at what can and can’t be explained by science in superhero movies and helped students to see the creative and imaginative side of science.”

Professor Lorch, a chemist, science communicator and author, said he was delighted by the response from the students.

He said: “Superheroes make for a nice hook to explore various aspects of science and the students were really interested. They showed they have inquisitive and problem-solving minds.”