By: Suzana Zekic, STEM Ambassador
The all-girl Norbury Manor Business & Enterprise College recently held a “Deep Learning” session where Year 9 students had an opportunity to learn about different careers prospects and the typical daily responsibilities that they entail. The day was supported by the STEM Ambassador Suzana Zekic, an acoustician and the trustee of R70L – an education charity that assist the school running Design Engineer Construct (DEC!) programme.
The girls were able to find out about acousticians and the work they do through a presentation about the sound and noise around us and then with practical use of equipment called “bannit kit” kindly provided by the Institute of Acoustics. This acoustic learning kit represents a mini recording studio with a miniature speaker inside a cube whose walls, floors and ceiling can be built up from different materials such as foam, plywood and an air gap option. The aim of the exercise is to explore the acoustic properties of different materials by building a unique soundproof recording studio in a practical and engaging way.
On the day, once explained the task, the girls excitedly got on with the job of building up their individual “recording studio” ensuring they make them soundproof as every recording studio needs to be! Competition was strong, team names were chosen, everyone was hiding their work, whispering amongst themselves wanting to outperform each other. Noise levels coming out of the “recording studio” were measured for each design with some doing better than others either by sheer luck or by listening and following given instructions. One team had very low noise levels coming out of their “recording studio” only to learn that they “forgot” to set up the small speaker inside their “recording studio”! Afterwards, all teams were given a chance to improve their designs with “Lilypuspus” team shedding nearly 10dB from the first attempt – budding acousticians for sure!
It is expected that the exposure girls had on the day will help them with selecting their GCSEs. Hopefully some will be enticed to choose the practical DEC! programme as supported by R70L (www.R70L.org) and work harder at their science and maths so perhaps one day they will be able to design recording studios for real!