A Culture of Research

A Culture of Research

Imagine a place where you are given the time, space and resources to carry out your own authentic scientific research. Here at Cornwall School of Maths and Science we place research at the heart of our work.

All our students are strongly encouraged to undertake their own research project alongside their A Levels, supported by a team of specialist teachers and backed up with exceptional links with local, national and international universities.

We are extremely proud to be a Partner School of the Institute for Research in Schools. Our involvement with this organisation means that CSMS students have access to big data from a huge number of incredible projects and undertake their own original research, writing an academic paper and submitting it for publication. This research can also be used as the basis for an Extended Project Qualification.

Students are also encouraged to present their research at national and international competitions. Over the last few years CSMS students have competed in and won awards at the Asian-Pacific Conference of Young Scientists in Thailand, the Korea Science Academy Science Fair in South Korea and the International Student Science Fair in Singapore.

Some examples of the research that students from CSMS have been part of include: using data from the International Space Station to discover and predict background radiation at different locations on the globe; using a university-grade particle detector of the type used at CERN to investigate the properties of background radiation at different altitudes in the UK and in Singapore (as part of a collaborative project with the National Junior College, Singapore); using a carbon monoxide detector to map the distribution of the deadly gas around Cornwall and mapping the genome of the Human Whipworm through the Genome Decoders project.

One of our former students, Meghan, had amazing success with her Extended Project Qualification investigation. She asked the question ‘Are puzzle-solving techniques different between human imprinted and non-human imprinted rooks?’ She designed and constructed a puzzle box, where rooks (corvus frugilegus) had to pull a specific pin from the structure to release the food. She spent much of the Easter Break recording the behaviour of the rooks and this awesome footage is the fantastic moment that the first rook solved her puzzle!

Meghan was in regular contact with Professor Nicky Clayton from the University of Cambridge while she was doing her research. Professor Clayton is an experimental psychologist and is a world expert in the intelligence of the Corvid family.