Peter Lahiff, Ashton School
For my BEES work experience at UCC, on Thursday afternoon I had a geology class. There were different kinds of rocks and fossils arranged on the desks, and we were divided up into groups and sent around the room to examine and answer questions about them.
My group started off at a Microraptor gui fossil, and answered questions on how feathered dinosaurs such as this are similar and different to birds, their descendants. We continued on to fossils of other animals such as a crinoid, a shark, coral, bivalves, gastropods and an ammonite. We answered questions such as what kinds of animals they were, how details about their lifestyles are known, and how old their fossils are.
There were also plant fossils and minerals there. One of the plants was an Archaeopteris fern, while the other was a section of tree trunk from the Triassic. The minerals included haematite, an iron based stone with a red colour from which its name is derived, as well as igneous rocks such as obsidian, which were recently formed in the twentieth century from volcanic eruptions on Iceland.
After answering the questions on the minerals and fossils, we passed our question sheets around and corrected each other’s. My team got seventeen out of twenty questions right, and I was able to ask questions about and discuss the fossils with the professors who were there afterwards, which was useful and informative.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed the class and found it to be very interesting. I learnt some new things from it, and was able to put what I knew already to use. Many of the BEES classes, including this one, have been relevant to my interests, and so I have a very good time here and have learned a lot about biology, environmental and earth sciences. I would recommend these courses to anyone who is interested in these sciences, and I look forward to participating in more courses and learning more in future.