Explosive Education: Gunpowder Day with Lower 4

Lower 4 participated in an explosive interdisciplinary learning session this week, combining history, science and PE to enhance their understanding about the 1605 Gunpowder Plot.

They had the opportunity to learn how gunpowder was made, and understand how the different ingredients combine to form an explosive chemical reaction in their science and design session. Students learned how gunpowder evolved from the ancient Chinese recipe to the later one that would have been used by Guy Fawkes et al. They saw it being mixed before being set on fire to compare how the burn rate differs as the ratio of ingredients is altered. It culminated with an explosion using a blast tube, to witness what happens when it is confined – causing quite a few squeals and screams.

This year saw the return of the TH Stuart Games which was an afternoon of Stuart themed games including archery and lawn bowls. The Tudor Champion 2024 was Darcie J, 2nd place was Mia L and 3rd was Aimee M.

Andy Morris, who coordinated the event, first had to undergo a lengthy and rigorous process to obtain an explosives license, stating, ‘I had police interviews, background checks, training with the Wimborne militia and almost set fire to my garden fence when practising. We’re not aware of any other schools who have this licence, and the firearms officer’s first words when he interviewed me were, “This is a rather unusual request”.’

Mr Morris stated his gratitude for the team effort involved in the day: ‘Huge thanks to everyone who was involved in making gunpowder day such a success and to all the staff who delivered their expert sessions. It was great to have some 6th form PE students helping to run a session in the afternoon.’

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