Page 14 - Independent Schools Magazine
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 Whale of a time on Mediterranean adventure
Lewes Old Grammar School, Sussex, students stepped out of the classroom and onto a boat as they sailed across the Mediterranean Sea in search of marine life.
Year 9 pupils were enlisted to help four cetacean researchers at the port of Sanremo, Italy, where they helped to collect valuable data about whales and dolphins in the Mediterranean region while living on a 72-foot research sailing boat.
Over the course of the trip, students saw more than one hundred striped dolphins, a loggerhead sea turtle, two sperm whales, and two  n whales. They also spotted bottle- nosed dolphins, only the fourth sighting of the pod for the entire season.
LOGS teacher Abigail Nagamootoo said, however, that the most incredible discovery came later: “We saw one sperm whale called Erico twice in the course of the week – which was incredible considering
he hadn’t been seen by researchers in the entire Mediterranean Sea for more than a decade!
“Best of all though, was when we came across another sperm whale. We soon realised he’d never been seen before and had the unique privilege of naming him Lewis, in honour of the school.”
Students were also put through their paces as amateur sailors on the expedition, and tasked with cooking, cleaning and maintenance duties, while also spending one hour shifts working with a marine biologist on the sighting platform every day.
In a rare turn of events, the captain steered the group out from Sanremo and into French waters, where they anchored overnight between two islands in the Cote d’Azur (French Riviera). Pupils had the chance to jump from the boat into the water to swim and snorkel in the middle of the ocean.
“This trip was really about offering students something completely different. After we went to Costa Rica last year, we wanted to give Year 9 students a similar chance to do conservation work in an inspiring setting. The expedition
Also see cover background picture
gave them an insight into marine life which they could never
have experienced had they just been studying within a Sussex
classroom,” Abigail added: “It was quite literally a chance to expand their horizons by sailing into the vast expanse of the sea”.
Daljit Kaur, Head of STEM Innovation at Loughborough Grammar School, praised the boys’ hard work, adding that their success was a testament
to the school’s commitment
to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects.
“By drawing on their own real- world experience, they have created a device that could eventually prove life-saving for epilepsy sufferers,” she said.
As well as competing in China, E1 was also showcased at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, held in the Estonian capital Tallinn last month (September). They have also been invited to present to medical professionals at the Royal Society of Medicine.
 Showcasing medical invention
Young inventors from Loughborough Grammar School have become the  rst to represent the UK at a prestigious science and technology event in China.
They  ew out to Hangzhou to go head-to-head with students from around the world at the China Adolescent Science and Technology Contest.
The pair, both 16-years-old, secured their place after winning the Big Bang Competition in March, when they fought off competition from more than 21,000 students to take the
UK Young Engineer of the Year 2017 title.
Their invention, called E1, is
a pioneering wearable vest designed to alert epilepsy sufferers that they are at risk of a  t. After witnessing someone having a seizure, Sankha teamed up with David to develop the
device, which monitors heart rate variability and body temperature to predict a  t up to eight minutes in advance. If one is
detected, the vest sends a text message to the wearer’s phone, and that of a Carer, to warn them that help is needed.
 Daljit Kaur with students Sankha Kahagala-Gamage and David Bernstein
   14 Independent Schools Magazine
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