British Science Week

British Science Week
Highfield & Brookham Head's Thoughts

This week has been a very busy and exciting week for our children as we have been celebrating British Science Week. We have had a myriad of activities ranging from fossil hunting to making plaster cast moulds of dinosaurs…exploring the solar system in an inflatable planetarium…making and launching rockets hundreds of feet into the air…a House rocket-building competition…numerous wacky experiments such as ‘Elephants’ toothpaste’ blasting out of a cylinder or flying a hot air balloon up to the roof of Chapel…a Science Exhibition for pupils to display their skills and finally, but absolutely not least, the hatching and rearing of ten chicks.

Brookham have certainly shared in celebrations as well with gutter boat racing... STEM fancy dress day... visit from an equine vet... a forensic science workshop... learning how to code and of course the hatching and rearing of five ducklings.

We have Science facilities that are second to none: three dedicated laboratories, an extremely well-resourced preparation room, 175 acres of land including woodland and pond habitats for fieldwork, and most importantly a team of highly-qualified specialist teachers from across all three areas of Biology, Chemistry and Physics delivering a very high standard of teaching.

I often get asked what is it that children do in Science lessons and you might be surprised to learn that we still do many of the experiments that parents might remember from their childhood; we still use microscopes to look at onion cells for example and Bunsen Burners are still used regularly. One key difference now is that we use technology much more to enhance the experience for our children and to improve their learning. We still use the microscopes to view cheek cells, but then iPads are used to video what can be seen and then airdrop them onto the interactive whiteboard so we can all identify areas of interest. We still learn about the chambers of the heart, but instead of copying a diagram from a textbook pupils can instead use a 3D app to have an augmented reality heart hovering in front of them to spin around and look inside. The most important aspect is still to ensure there is a heavy reliance on practical and experimental work in order to learn. We don’t just simply learn facts, but instead learn how to query, hypothesise, plan and observe. Making mistakes is also vital – provided they are going to be safe and don’t end in a puff of smoke and a sooty face! It is just as important to be able to think scientifically as to understand concepts. Observing the wonder on a child’s face as they add acids to alkalis to produce a rainbow of pH colours or the amazement on their face as Sodium reacts with water is still one of the privileges I have as a Science teacher.

In today’s modern world it could be argued that Science is more important than ever. The battle to combat Climate Change is one that requires the energy of youth combined with an understanding of the science involved if we are to reverse the damage we have caused to our planet. As coronavirus spreads across the world a knowledge of microbes and disease is a vital one to have as we race to introduce new vaccines. Whilst we are proud of the exam results we achieve to some of the most prestigious schools in the country, just as important to the Science team is that our girls and boys leave Highfield with a love of all things scientific and a desire to find out more about the world around us and beyond.

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