Food Tastes Different In The Air

there was an article in The Guardian newspaper today about airline food and how food tastes different when you are 37,000 feet in the air. This reminded me of our senses discussions last term:

“It’s long been believed that altitude somehow affects the tastebuds and that airline food is specially flavoured to overcome this. Sadly, says Prof Barry C Smith at Centre for the Study of the Senses at the University of London, this isn’t quite right. The tongue itself is unaffected but “white noise (like the sound of engines) in the ears makes the brain detect less salt, sweet and sour from the tongue by about 15%”. So do the airlines alter the menu to compensate?

“Lufthansa seem to know,” says Smith. “They give their business class passengers noise-cancelling headphones … for a better taste experience.

“Dry air and high altitude or low pressure make it less easy to smell our food, so that reduces enjoyment, but we can overcome this a little with more spices because they engage a different system – the trigeminal nerve, which makes peppermint taste cool in the mouth and mustard taste hot. That’s why BA used to give people more curries at the back of the plane.” That is, in economy class.”

Pepper Robot Learns to Catch Ball in Cup

  • Can you find out more about Pepper the Robot?
  • Why is she special?
  • Where is she used and how would you use her?
  • How is Pepper learning to catch the ball different from you learning to catch it?

I think she could be improved if her facial expressions changed – eg how frustrated would your face be if you were trying and failing to catch that ball so many times? And how excited would you be if it worked? OR would it be a bad idea for her to show emotion as she becomes a bit too human?

The Virtual Orchestra – Trip to RFH

Wow, I’m quite exhausted, what a special day!

Some questions (some of them Joe’s!) – please answer below in comments :

  • What surprised you most?
  • What did you learn?
  • What do you think Virtual Reality will look like in 30 years’ time?
  • Do you think you represented your school well? Give an example to support your answer
  • Which instrument/ part would you most like to play in the orchestra?

Here are some photos:


The Virtual Orchestra


I’m excited about our Digital Leaders’ Day Out! Last night I went to the Teachers’ Preview and this is what we have in store, mainly based around the theme of “The Planets” by Gustav Holst:

  1. The Universe of Sound – a chance to experience, virtually, what it’s like in each section of the orchestra – watch the individual musicians playing their parts and see how the orchestral music all fits together as an ensemble
  2. Using 360 degree virtual realty and very special sound effects (4 pairs of special binaural microphones were used to record the sound – what does this mean?), put yourself right at the heart of the orchestra playing Sibelius’ Symphony No 5
  3. You may get a chance to quiz an orchestra member – what questions will you have?
  4. Have a real go at playing some of the many (some huge!) percussion instruments that the orchestra members use
  5. Some extra special additional digital activities organised just for you by the lovely people at London CLC who have so kindly invited us along to join them.

The Virtual Orchestra Exhibition is open to schools and the public at the Royal Festival Hall, but, thanks to London CLC, local Digital Leaders have exclusive use of the exhibition for the whole day! You can listen to some of the music and find out more here .

Two other Merton schools will be joining us there – St Teresa’s (with Tim & Mrs Schneider) and Cranmer.


Code Club Autumn term

Hi everyone, some Code Club updates:

  • Firstly, apologies that the blog seems to have been broken for most of the holidays – hopefully they will have properly fixed it by next week.
  • A reminder that there won’t be a Code Club next week (first week back), as discussed last term.
  • Code Club will restart on Tuesday 4th October – all previous members very welcome!
  • Hopefully we’ll be visiting the Royal Festival Hall on 26th September to take part in an Augmented Reality workshop with the Royal Philharmonic. This will be during the school day. A letter will go home with final details once confirmed.
  • I have applied for some BBC Micro Bits so hopefully they will arrive some time this term #excited

Looking forward to seeing you all on Tuesday and finding out about what you’ve been up to over the summer – don’t forget to come and say hello at break/ lunchtime!

Nicola :-)

Inside The Factory

This is a really interesting TV programme about how baked beans are made in Wigan.

It’s an hour long and only available to watch until 9th September. I really enjoyed it!

I was amazed at how sensors are used to make baked beans – how many examples of sensors do you notice? What do they do and how do they work?