Sunday 19 November 2017

Largest science class record set

The world record for the largest science lesson was smashed in Belfast as more than 1,300 schoolchildren took part in a colossal chemistry class.

Year 7 and 8 pupils from primary and secondary schools across Northern Ireland packed into the Odyssey Arena to participate in a mass chromatography experiment.

This was one overcrowded classroom no-one was complaining about, as the existing Guinness World Record of 982 was not only broken but obliterated.

Confirmation that 1,339 pupils had officially participated in the lesson brought cheers as loud as those that usually reverberate around the arena when the Belfast Giants ice hockey team is playing.

Pravin Patel, the Guinness World Record adjudicator, was suitably impressed by the feat, which was staged as part of the inaugural Northern Ireland Science Festival.

"It's an absolutely fantastic record," he said after announcing the outcome.

"They're such an enthusiastic bunch.

"It's great to see school kids taking part in a large practical lesson."

The lead teacher for the day was Sue McGrath, aka Scientific Sue, who directed proceedings from the stage.

She admitted to feeling very nervous before teaching the largest lesson of her life.

"The kids were amazing, I can't believe how well behaved they were," she said. "I just can't stop grinning."

Oliver Ralston, a 12-year-old year eight from Campbell College in Belfast, said it felt great to be a record breaker.

"It was really good," he said. "It taught you a lot about science."

Sorcha Jones, 11, from St Dallan's Primary School in Warrenpoint, Co Down, said a lot of the fun was the not knowing whether the record was within reach.

"It was exciting because we were wondering whether we were going to actually make it or not," she said.

This event was run by the Royal Society of Chemistry and was supported by British Council.

Stormont's Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry was there to see the record broken.

"I congratulate all the students here today who have come together to become world record-breakers," he said.

"I am pleased that the previous world record has not only been surpassed but vastly exceeded."

Press Association

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