Super Science with our STEM Ambassador
In our nursery, Elmers and Tigers had the most amazing morning with our STEM Ambassador Mrs Angelillo, working as her super science helpers, making lots of lotions and potions. They made volcanos, lava lamps, skittle rainbows and experimented with different types of material. She also proved that she was magic, bursting a balloon with an orange.
In our Prep School lab Y3 investigated dark, white and milk chocolate and found out one which one melted the fastest. Y4 amade ice-cream in a bag without a freezer in sight. They learnt about freezing and melting points and the effect of salt on temperature. Y5 had a workshop on reversible and irreversible changes that involved explosions and strange changes and Y6 learnt how to extract DNA from banana skins. They will never look at fruit the same way again.
Over at our Senior School Y7 enjoyed a fascinating and informative STEM activity which used UV bead bracelets to study light. The pupils learnt the UV radiation exists even if it can’t be seen and the children explored ways of preventing UV light from the sun from reacting with the beads. We expect after the investigation the children will be keener to apply their factor 15 creams this summer! Y8 also indulged in the ice-cream experiment.
Our students across the school had so much fun and learnt a lot, with Mrs Angelillo sharing her passion and enthusiasm for science and inspiring the next generation of scientists.
Reception and Y1 joined our nursery children at Station Road to be engineers and to design, build and test their vehicles. The Crayon Class and Peter Rabbit class rose to the challenge of being the oldest children and showed great understanding of sharing, caring and being good role models.
We were very lucky to have lots of scientific expert visitors. Across our Nursery and Prep School, Dr & Dr Pai shared with us a very timely and interesting exploration of germs. Under ultra violet lights the children were able to see whether their hand washing was effective. We had an out of this world talk from Matt Rothwell, an astronomer from The Cambridge Institute of Astronomy, a fascinating programming session from Mr Zongur and Mr Deacon dismantled a computer for the children to see inside. The children were thrilled to see two furry visitors, Owen and Pilot alongside their trainers, who told us all about how guide dogs are trained and the important role that they have in society.
Y6 had a superb workshop from Forensic Scientist, Lottie Spires who works with the local police. They looked at shoe print evidence, finger prints, clothing fibres and DNA samples and even tried on some protective clothing that Mrs Spires uses when collecting evidence from a crime scene! They learned so much and even had a go at making shoe print casts.
Y3 took part in a marble run challenge which had the children working together to solve how to make a marble travel down a run as slowly as possible. They then took on the cereal box challenge, making a box that would hold a bag of cereal. They looked at design, slogans, characters and ways they could persuade parents to buy it. Y4 undertook a STEM Tower Challenge. They considered some famous tall buildings around the world and discussed the way in which they were constructed – what enables them to be both tall and stable. They then worked in teams to create the tallest tower they could using only newspaper and masking tape to withstand an “earthquake”.
Y5 designed and built, using only paper and tape, a structure that would support as many books as possible and took on the egg challenge which involved saving an egg from breaking when it was dropped from Mr Settle’s office window. The teams used their knowledge of forces to design some fantastic carriers and three of the six teams managed to save their egg.
This week has been STEM Week at the Senior School. A week shining the spotlight on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
And it has been jam-packed with STEM stuff. In this morning’s assembly we heard talks from two different scientists – John Kirkpatrick, on how Maths is applied to the field of drug development, and also Ian Poskitt who works in engineering, While this afternoon, as part of a national competition, Y10 designed an engineering product to solve a problem.
On Tuesday Y9, Y10 and Y11 enjoyed a series of masterclasses with AQA Examiner Shaun Donnelly – famous to students up and down the country as the YouTuber who delivers science lessons. If you don’t yet know of him, check him out. I have found listening to his online lessons with my Y10 daughter on our journey to school a great way to get involved in her learning, which is not always so easy with older, more independent children. We were also visited by Loredana Ciuclan who works at AstraZeneca as scientific operational Project Manager. She told us about her role and her career and why science is so beautiful.
Celebrating International Women’s Day on Sunday, ahead of STEM week was poignant. The women who work across the STEM field are inspiring generations to come. We were privileged to be joined on Wednesday by STEM Ambassador Jo Stansfield who came in to give an inspiring assembly entitled Technology is Everywhere and again on Thursday by scientist Loredana Cuclan whose talk was entitled “Passionate about Science? What life may have in store for you.” On top of that many of our Y7, Y8 and Y9 science classes this week have been given over to STEM workshops with our Science Technician, Emilia Angelillo, herself a STEM Ambassador.
Films like Hidden Figures, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything, remind us of the progress that has been made over the last few decades in opening up opportunities to all, regardless of gender, background, sexual orientation, culture, race and religion, not only in the scientific field but beyond, while also highlighting the importance and urgency of continuing to do this. STEM shapes our world and its future. In the climate crisis we face, this is more important than ever.