Mad march fun at Deeside and Donside primary schools

Craigievar outside workshop.
Craigievar outside workshop.

The Mad March Science Festival got off to a dramatic start on Saturday when the licence holder of the Amateur Radio Event went down with flu.

Organisers, Cromar Future Group, quickly stepped in with a virtual reality activity, so instead of talking to real people around the world, the Logie Coldstone children floated above the Earth in a mock-up of the International Space Station, some navigating their way to the exit for a space-walk.

MadLab at Tarland School.

MadLab at Tarland School.

As they had enjoyed an online session with the Tim Peak Challenge team just two day’s before, they loved being an astronaut and were equally enthusiastic about the space food challenge where they rated the suitability of common foodstuffs for use in space using NASA criteria.

At Craigievar, robots wandered the floor, and scratch programming was popular, as were the forest based themed drop-in activities and the family talk by Glenn Roberts on the local mammal populations.

MadLab meanwhile had a busy first day operating out of Tarland School, which turned into a veritable flood on Sunday as word got around as to how much fun the workshops were.

Little hands and equally fascinated parents had a go at soldering alarms, decision trees, aliens and other electronic gadgets.

Tarland School’s open day was bustling on Sunday, with those waiting their turn at MadLab enjoying driving robotic cars, playing with hexbugs or friendly dancing dinosaurs or attending workshops on atoms and magnetism.

The Tarland Young Scientists demonstrated testing for PH; blew up balloons with gas from a chemical reaction; explained whale migration, the big bang, states of matter and the solar system which featured wonderful model planets made from biscuits.

All the children in the schools had worked hard and the quality of displays were fantastic and covered evolution; internet safety; birds, feathers and worms; working models of cars and pre-programmed Mars rovers.

Younger children had produced posters and drawn astronauts with their own faces peeping from the helmets.

At the adult talks in Aboyne, the Digital Scotland showcase vehicle proved popular, as did the conservation and geological talks.

The final event of the festival, is on Saturday (March 18) at 2pm at Ballater’s Albert Hall, when researchers from the James Hutton Institute will be explaining how the devastating flood of December 2015 changed the bed of the River Dee and discussing research into how communities have been affected.