Rolls-Royce Science Prize Diary


June Diary

posted Jun 27, 2015, 1:30 PM by Mrs Payne

June Targets:

·       Nadine to organise Engineering trip to RAF Marham

·       Nicky and Andy to organise STEM accelerator launch presentation and coordinate pupils for the event

·       Colin and Nadine Identify first cohort of student and pupil science mentors for next year.

What an exciting and busy month it has been. Although the pupils in robot club have only been together since half term, they have made phenomenal progress already. Each week the pupils are given a task related to a particular context (last week it was the Rosetta and Philae comet chaser!) which helps them to see the real life application of robotics and programming. Having learnt to programme the robots to turn corners, move around the room independently and respond to sound and light, the pupils can now engineer their robots to move around a maze by themselves! What amazing progress. In order to achieve this the pupils have had to persevere and problem solve, as the robots don’t always do as expected first time. After adjusting and working backwards through their methods, they can spot problems for themselves. In September we will be supporting the pupils to plan and design their robots for the LEGO league ROBOCUP competition, with any new pupils to the group joining existing pairs (who will be working as mentors). In July the pupils will be inviting parents and Headteachers to join them at the club to see what they have learnt so far – we felt it was important to celebrate and share their progress so far.
       
Along with the robot club pupils our astronomy club and CoSpace group were invited to the STEM accelerator launch event at University Campus Suffolk this month to showcase the STEM clubs within the trust and the Rolls-Royce project. One of only two schools in the region asked to present at the event, our pupils did a fantastic job at speaking about the things they have been involved in. Leading industries like BT spoke to our pupils about the project this year and asked them about the skills they have gained and our pupils found out more about the career pathways open to them. The robot club pupils did a fantastic job of explaining their programmes to the BT engineers showing a real understanding in what they had learnt already.



Our year 12 engineers and physics students visited RAF Marham this month – a nice treat after all of those exams! What a fantastic day. They had the opportunity to see Tornados being stripped for engineering checks. They followed the whole pathway from whole plane disassembly to maintenance of the engines. The Rolls-Royce engineers at the base gave the pupils a tour and showed them how the life of the different bearings in the engines were checked and they also saw how FOD was identified in the engines. We were also very fortunate to have a Rolls-Royce higher apprentice with us for the day. Having been an apprentice for two years and being two weeks into his placement at the base, he was able to explain what was involved in the apprenticeship scheme and how to apply. He really inspired the students to think about the career options open to them; he was a real ambassador for the company.

Nicky is busy trying to ensure that everything is ready (including final passport checks) for the trip to Singapore. Our talented young programmers will be battling it out in the international final against the world’s finest young programmers – Good Luck!

The team have also met this month to plan the next stage of the curriculum. Having evaluated the schemes of learning, the group have now finalised the new assessment grid and tracking system for September so that the enquiry skills in lessons (and outside) can be tracked by the students to help them progress further. There is a real buzz with the wider departments as momentum gathers.

July Targets

·       Nadine to ensure that extracurricular/crossphase and parent- pupil events for next year are in the calendar.

·       Nicky to successfully take CoSpace team to Singapore for the International final

·       Nadine and Colin to take Astronomers to the University of Hertfordshire

·       Colin to finalise plans for the year 10 trip to the John Innes Centre in Norwich for the microscopy day.

Andy to coordinate Robot Club Parents evening event.

May Diary

posted May 31, 2015, 11:05 AM by Mrs Payne

May Targets: 

·       Nadine to work with Media students to ensure that final edit of Video is completed and sent to Rolls-Royce.

·       Nicky to set up Cross Trust Robotics club.

·       Nadine to speak to STEMnet about Student ambassador programme.

·       Team to Evaluate project this year and plan for next academic year.

This month has involved our media students finalising the video edit of the video diary – something they will be using for their coursework and as part of their portfolio of evidence for future job interviews. They did an excellent job throughout the project of capturing everything that went on. The team also met to look at the impact of the project over the year. With so many activities having taken place each month alongside the curriculum changes, there has been a lot of evaluation material to consider. All of the activities that we ran received high praise from students and staff involved, so it would seem appropriate to ensure that they are all included in our extracurricular calendar next year. We will however be adding a number of other activities to the list to help us support pupils with their enquiry skills. Staff within the trust will be organising more parent – pupil activities such as computing and robotics evenings, maths problem solving days and scrap heap challenge events as these are some of the areas that parents requested more support in. The project has really helped staff to see how important parental involvement is and has helped to enthuse them to organise these extra events. It is never an expectation for staff to give up an evening or Saturday to run an activity such as this, so it is just so fantastic to have staff that see the benefits of being involved both for the students and themselves. Another new addition to the programme will be our Robotics Club that starts after half term. We have had a huge amount of interest for this, so we will need to look at buying more robotics equipment next term in order for us to increase the groupings. We are really looking forward to working with pupils from year 4 – 8 and seeing their robotic dance designs. It will also allow us to work with the PE/Dance departments in preparation for the Lego League competition next February.

We have also had our final numbers for the Sixth form – with a staggering 67 pupils wanting to take Chemistry, 55 for Biology and 47 for Physics which is double to entry this time last year!  Many of the students in year 11 that are returning next year were involved in acting as Science Mentors this year and commented on how the experience had helped them to decide on careers and A levels. We have also had a large number of students apply externally – when asked at interview why they had chosen County Upper for science, they said that not only where the results very good but that they had either bene to the science festival or had seen reports in the paper and that they felt that they would have extracurricular opportunities that they wouldn’t get elsewhere. Nadine is working with STEMnet on the ambassador scheme so that in September the students can receive recognition for the work that they do.

Even with lots of exams taking place across the trust, we have still endeavoured that extracurricular activities are being offered to pupils. Year 7/8 pupils visited the Institute of Food Science on Friday 15th May. They took part in hands on experiments and visited the labs and scientists for the day. This was as a result of the science festival and the contacts that we made from the event. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed the day and commented how it had they liked seeing cutting edge science taking place and finding out what it was really like to work as a molecular biologist. Coming up soon in June is the trip to RAF Marham for our Year 12 Engineers and Physicists. We are very excited to see the Rolls-Royce engines in action. This again was a result of working with the RAF team for the science festival. Our year 10 GCSE astronomers are also visiting the University of Hertfordshire in July where they will be using radio telescopes and visiting the astronomy department. The students had acted as ambassadors at the Astronomy Evening in February and they visiting astronomers were so impressed with them that they invited them to the department for the day – all 30 of them!

 


April Diary

posted May 31, 2015, 11:03 AM by Mrs Payne

April Targets: 

·       Nadine to plan and send filming information to Rolls-Royce

·       Andy to organise Science Festival Favourites Workshop for cross phase activity day.

·       Run successful robotics afternoon with Barrow primary.

·       Evaluate project so far and plan next years’ activities with subject coordinators – Meeting on 13th April

This term has began with a real buzz and sense of purpose! On the first day back from Easter, the science leaders from across the trust met to discuss and plan activities for the rest of this academic year along with other long term projects for the year ahead. We also started to look at evaluating the schemes of work that we’ve created ready for next year’s teaching – this is to carry on in a longer meeting next week. As a result of the work the science department has done this year, other departments across the trust are looking to produce similar cross trust schemes, which is exciting for the staff involved as they will presenting to colleagues on the work we’ve done.                                                                                                                             

Pupils returned on the 14th and were immediately involved in the Science Festival Workshop; Over 80 pupils from across the trust (Years 4 -9) took part in three different sessions led by Andy, Colin and Myself. The activities included extracting DNA from strawberries, Extracting chemicals from plants and Designing and building bridges using wafer biscuits! This was the first time we had so many different age groups working together; it was fantastic to see how event the older students had soemthing to learn from the younger ones. Even though the event was a great success, in the future we will run sessions like this over a longer time frame (a whole day etc) so that extension activities can be completed. The pupils were also joined by the Rolls-Royce film crew for the morning which added to the excitement. As a result of the science festival, Andy is taking a group of year 7 students to the Institute of food science in May, where they will have the opportunity to take part in molecular biology activities and meet scientists. We are also planning a cross trust DNA day in June for year 7 as a consequence of the activities in the science festival – it has really sparked their imaginations.  At the end of term we are organising a trip to Lawshall for the year 5 – this was the event we started with this year. Some of the pupils involved in this first activity have become Science Leaders (mentors) and we will be bringing them to both consolidate but also share their experience .Excitingly the individual schools across the trust will all be applying for the Secondary/Primary Science Quality Mark with an aim to achieving gold throughout. We feel that the Rolls-Royce project this year has given the schools the cohesive structure that has been needed to achieve this.   

Nicky and I have organised a Cross Trust/ Cross Phase Robotics club which will begin immediately after the half term. Pupils from Year 4 upwards will be joining us at County Upper once a week to learn how to build and programme Robots with an aim to entering the ROBOCUP dance next February. We already have a large number signed up and pleasingly many of them are girls. As a result of the robot afternoons and experiencing robots at the science festival we have managed to excite a lot of the pupils already.                                                                                                                                              

The Science Festival may have been last month but students are still talking about it in and around school. One of the aspects of the project that we hadn’t fully forseen at it’s outset was the effect it would have in terms of our students wanting to become science mentors. We’ve had A level students act as Science Captains for some time but as a result of the project this year we have extended this to each year group with students taking on different responsibilities within the activities. Not only does this help them with their own understanding of the science involved but they also gain many other skills. We are now going to be organising a recognised student STEM ambassador scheme to ensure that we continue to support our students. There are also now a number of pupils from our middle schools in Year 6 and 7 that have also experienced leading activities as a result of the Workshop this month. One Year 6 pupil remarked that they had always enjoyed science but that being involved in the activities throughout the year both as a participant and a leader has made her want to do Physics and Maths at A level – now that is forward planning!                                                                                                                     

We have had a number of enquiries from other companies regarding the Science Festival and whether they could participate next year, so plans are already afoot for a repeat performance. Having had some time to reflect over the festival – we are looking to have a similar structure, with lots of hands on activities in the Hall and Gym that parents need not book for but that we would also add some booked in workshops which would help us to plan for expected numbers and run some educational sessions such as computing for parents with their children.

It’s already been a busy month and our A level Physics students even fit in a trip to CERN!

To date – costs charged to Rolls-Royce Science budget: £3000 – IPADs, £500 – Telescope,  £85 – ChaOs event, £31 – Science days, £43 Astronomy Evening consumables, £1563 Science Festival Consumables,  equipment and Workshop sessions by the SAW trust   = 5,222

    May Targets: 

·       Nadine to work with Media students to ensure that final edit of Video is completed and sent to Rolls-Royce.

·       Nicky to set up Cross Trust Robotics club.

·       Nadine to speak to STEMnet about Student ambassador programme.

·       Team to Evaluate project this year and plan for next academic year.

March Diary

posted Mar 25, 2015, 3:25 PM by Mrs Payne   [ updated Mar 25, 2015, 3:28 PM ]

Bury St Edmunds County Upper      Rolls-Royce Science Prize        March 2015 Diary Entry

March Targets: 

·       Complete Festival Programme and distribute

·       STEM festival event to run successfully; meet with trust on February 24th and with working party.

·       Run successful robotics afternoons with the primary schools

·       Start planning activities for June and beyond with the Trust partners

Having had an amazing time in Iceland on the Science Learning Centre STEM visit over half term, myself and Mr Western came back to school fully energised with plans for organising a future trip for our students. Our plans include pairing the students with a researcher/industrial ambassador in England to plan an experiment prior to the visit which they would then complete during the trip. They would then analyse and present their findings upon their return at a presentation evening. This would be similar in style to a Nuffield Bursary project but for younger students. The visit to Iceland would include a trip to the geothermal power station, Geysirs, and mid atlantic ridge along with visits to the University in Reykjavik. The diversity of science present in Iceland would allow students to experience a range of different disciplines set in a real life context – allowing them to follow projects in many different areas.  Nicky Hughes organised and ran one of our Robotics afternoons at Tollgate Primary School – this went exceptionally well. She worked alongside two BT ambassadors with the Year 3 at the school on March 12th. Nicky gave much thought to the running of the activity in terms of how much to help the pupils with the building and programming. After some discussion we decided that we shouldn’t underestimate 8 year olds and went with the idea that they would gain a great deal more from the experience if they worked together in groups to build and programme as much as they could – and it worked. Nicky received excellent feedback from both the students and staff; they wanted to know when Nicky could come in again next term! I shall accompany her when we visit Barrow Primary school on the 26th March.  Nicky has had further success with our year 9’s at the CoSpace final where our teams came second and third! This means we will be going to Singapore for the international final.                                                                                                           

The department has been busy this month with the final plans for the Science Festival. Having met several times as a group, it has been incredible to see how everyone has come together to help with the festival. It is always difficult to organise an event of this scale, so we wrote an action plan that gave everyone designated responsibilities for tasks leading up to the event and on the day. This has worked incredibly well, allowing me to project lead and give everyone ownership over particular aspects of the day. Then the big day arrived! Friday 20th saw just over 500 children (Years 3 – 9) from schools in the area visit the school over 5 hours. We ran two sessions in order to manage the different age groups which worked really well. We managed to attract a number of outside companies to the festival (The Welding Institute, Marshalls, UEA, EDF, Vitec, Treatts, John Innes, IFR and Kinetic Science) who worked alongside our students with their activities ( These were all manned by our science ambassadors – Year 9 – 13). All of the project partners were able to come together for the Science Festival – all with their own parts to play. Nicky organised the CoSpace workshops for the schools festival, while John brought a team from Treatts to show students how flavours are extracted and used to blend different flavoured drinks. Colin and Andy helped me to organise and run the two days while Richard coordinated all of the exhibitors and their requirements along with all of the equipment needed by our students. 

The timing of this months diary means that we haven’t pulled together all of the feedback for the festival but we have already received some excellent feedback from teachers, parents and pupils. One teacher emailed me after the event to say Thank you so much - we all had a fantastic time and learnt loads. Your pupils were a credit to you, showing infinite patience and knowledge. My class want to know when they can have a repeat performance.’ This was from a school 20 miles away, so it has been a fantastic way to build new relationships with other schools/teachers. One parent of one of our student ambassadors spoke to me the next day to tell me that her son had come home so excited by the activities that he had led. Many of our students came and spoke to the scientists that were present that day as well. The Hands on sessions ran alongside booked in Chemistry and CoSpace workshops on the Friday schools only event. This worked really well as it meant that we could control the numbers within the main Hall and Gym. This is something we will be considering for the Saturday Community event next year as computing was something that parents in particular had asked for in the future. The Saturday Community event was a huge success. We had people queuing before 10am ready to come in! We had advertised the event by contacting schools, flyers, programmes, social media and banners in the town so we had hoped that we would attract lots of people. We counted at least 1000 people throughout the day! There was a constant stream of families through the doors. Talking to parents, we found out the families were coming from around a 20 mile radius to visit us. Children that had visited the school the day before enjoyed it so much they brought their parents and siblings to the Saturday event. The mini scientist rooms was extremely popular and many then visited the other rooms and exhibits. We captured some quick evaluation from the day by putting up a feedback board for the children to write on. Everything was very positive with many asking for another festival next year. One parent has already emailed me to say ‘Please can I congratulate you and say a very big thank you for such an exciting, hands on and inspiring science fair. Both  x  and I got a lot out of it! I had preconceptions of being there an hour, however after nearly 2.5 hours, it was lunch that pulled us away. It was really good to see x getting so much out of the fascinating stands, whether they were run by professionals or students or even year 6 pupils ( they did a superb job on explaining dna ! ). The science was not only appropriate to her, but also was interesting to me. Thank you for such a great experience.’ Next months diary will have a more detailed description of our evaluations. Myself and Andy are now planning a series of workshops for the 14th April which our Subject coordinators in the trust will lead with our student ambassadors acting as mentors. This will involve mini sessions of the ‘favourite’ aspects of the festival for cross phase pupils in the trust.

To date – costs charged to Rolls Royce Science budget: £3000 – IPADs, £500 – Telescope,  £85 – ChaOs event, £31 – Science days, £43 Astronomy Evening consumables, £1563 Science Festival Consumables,  equipment and Workshop sessions by the SAW trust   = 5,222

    April Targets: 

·       Nadine to plan and send filming information to Rolls Royce

·       Andy to organise Science Festival Favourites Workshop for cross phase activity day.

·       Run successful robotics afternoon with Barrow primary.

·       Evaluate project so far and plan next years activities with subject coordinators – Meeting on 13th April

February Diary

posted Feb 16, 2015, 12:14 PM by Mrs Payne

Bury St Edmunds County Upper      Rolls Royce Science Prize        February 2015 Diary Entry

February Targets: 

·       Run a successful Astronomy event

·       Plan student led activities for the STEM Festival with the department and wider faculty

·       Meet with the Art department regarding student displays for the festival and programmes for the festival.

The Astronomy Evening was an unprecedented success. We were fully booked for the evening with 125 children and parents attending from schools across Bury St Edmunds. Using evaluations and experience from previous events we decided to pre plan the groups and arrange for the different activities to be run on a rotation system. This allowed for the children and parents to engage more fully with the activities, especially in the rooms where there was more complex activities running. Feedback from the evening was excellent. They all praised our staff and student ambassadors and thought that the majority of the activities were pitched at the right level. This is was really good for us to hear as this is the not only the first parent engagement we have run of this kind but also the KS2 age group was a new focus for the Upper school. It was also an excellent evening for our trust staff to be working together on. One parent commented . x and y both had a fantastic time and were so excited to tell me all about it. It really seems the evening was pitched at just the right level and really captured their imagination. x is science mad and already loved astronomy so I knew he would enjoy the evening. I wasn't sure whether y would enjoy it as she hasn't been so interested but she said it was 'amazing' and was reeling off all sorts of information about the planets etc.
Well done to everyone involved, your dedication and hard work is really appreciated.’ The only downside to the event is that by it’s very nature that it was an evening event so can be quite late for younger pupils, However many parents told me that they felt it was worth it as the children were so engaged by the activities. The parents also commented that they felt that it was fantastic that the event allowed them to work with their children and that it was free. Our student ambassadors involved also gained a huge amount from the experience. One year 11 boy in particular after working with the astronomers is keen to go to University to study exoplanets in more detail. The astronomers were so impressed with him that they have invited him to visit. Please see
Press release here                                                                                                                                                                                                         

We have now booked BT to help us run some robotics afternoons with the primary schools. These are booked for March 17th and March 26th. We have been running both a robotics club and a CoSpace club for our students. The CoSpace club has really taken off and the school are taking part in the Final on the 20th March. However the Robotics club has had less success. We think this is due to the time of day that the club is run but we will be running the club in the summer term and will use the robotics afternoons in the Primary’s as a catalyst for the trust club that we will be running. We therefore decided not to buy any further robot equipment at this point and to use the existing infrastructure for the younger students.                                                                                           

The STEM festival is just entering the final round of preparations. Having met with the department, we now have a working party who are actively involved in the running of the two days. This is fantastic for our staff in terms of giving as an opportunity to work on the project together. The department is split geographically within the school, so it can be difficult to meet and work actively together. The Project has helped to bring more cohesion to not only the school but the wider science trust. The art departments across the trust have followed suit and are running a competition with the pupils to design a front cover for the Festival Programme which I aim to have out by February 27th. Having also realised that the 20th March coincides with a Solar Eclipse that will reach 90% at 9:30(just before the festival begins) I changed plans slightly and contacted schools that have booked that they were welcome to  view the eclipse together with the rest of the school (indirectly of course) before the festival begins. We have already had 300 pupils book for the morning KS3 session and we have 114 pupils for the afternoon KS2 session. The Saturday event is aimed at the community as has already received a lot of attention – the buzz generated suggests that we will be very busy. The Astronomy evening feedback told us that parents in the area are very keen for the school to run more science events for them to engage in. They also commented that they would like to see Maths, Computing and Engineering Challenges being run by the trust for them to attend with their children. I have already discussed this with senior leaders and they are keen to for us to organise these. In addition to our original plans we will be running a Pre School Science room. This has developed due to one of our trust science coordinators being a reception teacher and she is currently completing her middle leader qualification which has parent engagement as one of her foci. Along side this our Head of Chemistry, who is very passionate about pre school science, has been developing lots of activities including glow in the dark noodles, playdough circuits and exploding milk. Reflecting on the CHaOs event the department feel that the freedom of movement that pupils had for the event worked really well and suits this event. We are therefore planning some booked in workshops, including extracting chemicals from plants – run by the SAW trust and a CoSpace workshop for KS2 run by our Maths department, while the rest of the hands on activities will be freely flowing as this created a nice atmosphere and the sessions will have plenty of time for people to look around all the activities.                       

 At this point it seems appropriate to start reflecting on the activities so far this year and their impact. We have already achieved so much in terms of improving cohesion across the trust schools and engaging students within our KS2, 3 and 4 phases. Our staff are developing their skills across the trust including myself. I have had to improve my delegation skills in order to manage the projects which has had knock effects on other staff such as Colin Hanfrey gaining more experience. It has wet his appetite for further responsibility and he is now looking forward to an aspiring head of science course in March. Our first event was the AMGEN year 11 activity. This involved 120 students not including our Sixth form science captains. The event really helped to put the science into context for the students with a lot of them feeding back they would now consider molecular biology as a career. I recently proof read a student’s record of achievement personal statement in which he stated that the activity had helped him to decide upon a career in the sciences and therefore he would be choosing science A levels this year.  The activities that have all had very different aspects to them but they all have allowed the students to gain real life, hands on experience of science. They have had their ideas challenged and they have equally challenged the staff involved.                                                                                     

To date – costs charged to Rolls Royce Science budget: £3000 – IPADs, £500 – Telescope,  £85 – ChaOs event, £31 – Science days, £43 Astronomy Evening consumables   = 3659(robot money not spent from previous month)                                                      

            March Targets: 

·       Complete Festival Programme and distribute

·       STEM festival event to run successfully; meet with trust on February 24th and with working party.

·       Run successful robotics afternoons with the primary schools

·       Start planning activities for June and beyond with the Trust partners

January Diary

posted Jan 20, 2015, 1:31 PM by Mrs Payne

Bury St Edmunds County Upper      Rolls Royce Science Prize        January 2015 Diary Entry

Targets for January:

·       Meet with Full Department to plan the Astronomy event and the logistics of the STEM festival.

·       Meet with team members to designate individual roles for the large astronomy and STEM festival events

·       Send out marketing for both the Astronomy and STEM festival events.

·       Nadine and Colin to run successful Science Tuesdays with primary staff

·       Nicky and Nadine to plan BT Robot afternoons

    The new term started with the Science department meeting to discuss the Astronomy event and STEM Festival. Nadine outlined plans so far and asked for further input and/or help with the running of the events. The team are all taking different roles in the events. Six members of the department will be helping on the Astronomy evening with further five members of staff assisting from the other Trust schools led by Andy Price. Other staff have helped to coordinate the social media side of marketing the events – designing both a Facebook and twitter page. These will be advertised and linked to the school website by the end of the week beginning 19th January. The flyers have been produced for both events. The astronomy poster has gone out to schools with information about the event and how to book. To ensure that to event is well managed, it was decided by staff that a booking system was required – this would allow us to plan for the numbers coming and ensure that the planetarium sessions were organised. We have placed the online booking form on the science website and have already received a number of bookings. The evening will run with five different sessions which the public can move between: A hands on astronomy room, a computer lab, observations outside (if inclement weather, they will run another activity), a planetarium and a talk from the lead astronomer. We will also host the Naked Scientist Radio for the event. The focus will be KS2 but older and younger siblings will also attend.  With external providers for the STEM festival shaping up, the staff are now looking at the activities that our students will run for the festival – marshmallow catapults, Robots and amazing slime are some of the early favourites. The external exhibitors have been contacted with further details of the festival and asked to give a small description of their activity so that the team can make an information leaflet for people attending and for the website. Richard is also taking requests and organising the main hall.

The primary science days have gone remarkably well. Colin and Myself planned the activities with the Primary staff in year 3 and 4 and decided upon a space theme as it would lead up to the astronomy evening. Before Christmas staff involved met and planned investigation frameworks that the children could use to help them structure their ideas when investigating. If the sheets proved successful, then these would be used by primary staff each time to improve consistency when teaching science.  The sessions were led by myself and Colin with the staff in both Barrow and Tollgate primary. The children were enquiring into ‘how craters form on the moon’ and ‘how rockets fly’. They rotated through both sessions during the day. The children planned their own experiments for both activities. They investigated a range of things such as ‘how does angle effect the distance a rocket flies?’ and ‘how does the height a meteor falls from effect the crater size’. They planned fair tests in order to investigate their ideas. Their experiments involved lots of maths, with some pupils measuring accurately to the nearest mm and others making special protractors so that they could measure the changing angles that their rockets were flying at. The teachers were very excited by how the pupils engaged not only with the science but the maths involved and they have plans for extension work form the activities. One said that it was great to see an example of enquiry based science and how it linked to the curriculum. He felt he had gained confidence to let the students lead the learning. Our year 9 science ambassadors also gained a great deal from the experience.


Press release – click here

Nicky has organised a number of possible dates for the Robot afternoon and we are awaiting the primary schools agreement for the date in the next month. Nicky has started the Robotics club this month with an aim to entering the ROBOCUP dance in order to attract girls – something we would like to run as a Whole trust club in the future.                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Another aspect of the project has been the classroom revolution – a move to enquiry based teaching at Bury St Edmunds County Upper. In order to facilitate this the department bought 20 IPADS for use within lessons. This was part funded by the Project funding (£3000) with further funding coming from the PTA. When they heard what we had achieved and what our aims for the project they agreed to help the Science department. The IPADs have been used in a number of ways. Firstly, they have been used in experiments to help the students monitor experiments through videoing and data collection. The focus on skills has meant that students can quickly graph and analyse results and share results with each other. The teachers have also been using a number of different teaching apps that allow the students to interact and participate in lessons more fully (Near pod and Socrative are examples). These apps allow teachers to respond quicker to the students and tailor the lessons for more individualised learning. The students are also preparing exciting presentations using the tablets and researching ideas that they can question the staff about. Engagement in lessons has increased hugely, with students cherishing their use in lessons. The use of these apps and the IPADs formed part of the training that staff received earlier in the project.




Prior to having the IPADs, a teacher would need to book into a computer room (and these were nearly always in use by other subjects) meaning that student led learning was difficult.

In terms of costs so far, we have tried to ensure that money is spent wherever possible on sustainable items in order for us to forecast for future events next year. Due to use working with the greenlight trust and them using us as a pilot project, our year 6 trip was free – no costs to pay. Cover was not necessary as staff involved used non contact time and sixth form lessons to supervise. The transport was by means of school minibus and as Lawshall is close by – costs were minimal and absorbed by the middle schools involved.  The November year 7 challenge day involved 4 members of staff – staff involved all had a number of non contact periods that day so cover was minimal but was charged to the schools gifted and talented budget. Consumables for the day were £25 and photocopying was £10 – again charged to the gifted and talented budget. The CHaOs day cost £85 and as I was the only member of staff, there was no cover. All other staff involved came from the schools attending. The January primary science days have involved myself and Colin, again we have timetabled the events during mock exams and therefore no cover was required as classes were in exams. Consumables came in at a cost of £31. To date – costs charged to Rolls Royce Science budget: £3000 – IPADs, £500 – Telescope, £500 – Robotics equipment, £85 – ChaOs event, £31 – Science days   =  £4116                                                                

 February Targets: 

·       Run a successful Astronomy event

·       Plan student led activities for the STEM Festival with the department and wider faculty

·       Meet with the Art department regarding student displays for the festival and programmes for the festival.

December Diary

posted Jan 8, 2015, 2:30 PM by Mrs Payne   [ updated Jan 8, 2015, 2:31 PM ]

December 2014 Diary Entry

Targets for December:

·       Successful CHaOs day – positive evaluations from students and staff

·       Department to complete planning for Stargazing event – meet with primary staff to support planning of Astronomy activities in class to complement this.

        Colin, Nadine and John to continue with STEM festival plans and start marketing of the event.

Pupils in year 4 and 8 from across the trust participated in a hands on science day on December 5th. CHaOs - a science engagement group from Cambridge helped to enrich the science curriculum for pupils in our trust. Pupils in Year 4 and 8 from across the trust took part in a Hands on Science activity on Friday 5th December. They looked at a number of different scientific concepts such as engineering, chemical reactions, microbes and convection. The pupils were able to work through the different activities in small groups, therefore allowing the pupils to ask lots of questions. The Cambridge University students were really impressed with the pupil’s questions and ideas.

A real favourite with the pupils was the bridge building activity - working together the pupils managed to solve the problem of how to get across a river using only the blocks provided. It was fantastic to see even the younger pupils tackle this. One year 4 girl took a step back and really thought about what she had done and how to improve it - an engineer in the making I think! Another great experiment was the convection demonstration. It is amazing how a bag filled with warm air can capture the imagination of students of all ages.

              

We also had the pleasure of having Chris Tague come and visit us. The Year 9 group that he worked with on the engineering challenge were really excited by the session. We are now looking to running a trip to Rolls Royce.  The team have also been very busy this month preparing for the events next term. In January we will be working with the primary colleagues to deliver a space day. Myself and Colin will be planning with the primary staff and helping them to deliver activities on 'science Tuesdays'. This will hopefully wet their appetite for the astronomy event but also be the catalyst for the primary teachers to continue afterwards. We have a microbes focus for the summer term for science Tuesdays. We met with primary staff earlier this month to plan the activities which will have a maths link to it. The pupils in year4 will be completing science investigations into the ‘effect of height on Crater size’, ‘how does the angle of trajectory effect the distance a rocket flies?’ and ‘can we live on Mars?’ Colin will also be meeting with the Norwich research park next week to help with planning the STEM festival.                                                                               

Nicky had problems early this term getting software onto our networked computers but is now about to order the materials needed and will start the robotics club from January alongside the existing programming club. She is also helping to organise the Robotics primary day.  Nicky has organised for BT to come and do a primary science Robotics workshop at the end of January/Early February. The pupils will come to County Upper and Myself and Nicky will help the BT engineers to run the workshop - we are linking it to the Mars Rover. BT have also agreed to run a similar day for the year 9 later in the year.                                                                                                                                        

Andy organised the year 6 lawshall day earlier in the term and is following up the work in schools with the pupils. He is also, along with many of the other heads of science going to be helping with the organisation of the Astromony event. We have moved this to February 4th because the University of Hertfordshire have offered to work with us on the event. This will be a large community event with a KS2 focus. The children and their parents will be able to take part in Observations (weather permitting), a planetarium, remote observations and hands on activities. Our GCSE Astronomers will be working with staff and astronomers to run the activities.                                                                   

John is organising the year 12 industry day and has been helping to book people for the stem festival such as the RSC. Bookings are going well – We have the John Innes/Ifr, UEA, Treatts, SAW trust, Welding Institite, CITB, RSC already signed up with more to come. Richard is looking after the budget and he prepared the Year 7 event last month and he organised the equipment for the CHaO s event last week. He will be taking all the technical requests for the astronomy, stem fair and primary days. He is also supporting new technicians across the trust. Budget wise, we have spent money on sustainable items so far - Tablets for use in activities and teaching (£3000). I haven't mentioned these in dairy entries yet but they should have pride of place - they have revolutionised the way we are teaching. Enquiry led approaches are much easier when you can set interactive activities. We about to purchase another telescope (£500) for the astronomy group as this will help with public events and Nicky is ordering her robotics equipment that she needs (£500) The CHaOs event cost £85. Therefore we will have spent £4085 by the end of this month so far. 

Targets for January:

·       Meet with Full Department to plan the Astronomy event and the logistics of the STEM festival.

·       Meet with team members to designate individual roles for the large astronomy and STEM festival events

·       Send out marketing for both the Astronomy and STEM festival events.

·       Nadine and Colin to run successful Science Tuesdays with primary staff

·       Nicky and Nadine to plan BT Robot afternoons 

November Diary

posted Nov 20, 2014, 10:01 AM by Mrs Payne   [ updated Jan 8, 2015, 2:21 PM ]

Targets for November:

  • A successful CPD session for Academy staff – positive feedback received and impact seen in the classroom (to be evaluated in 3 months time, along with best practise shared in faculty meetings)

  • Successful Year 7/8 Event – Positive student and Teacher feedback

  • Continue to finalise bookings and planning for STEM festival

  • Complete timetable for CHaOs event on 5th December and liaise with CHaOs and Bury Trust schools

A busy month – CPD, STEM events, planning and a trip to Derby!                                                                
Staff met from across the trust for a day of CPD linked to Enquiry led teaching. Teachers from across the phases worked together on enquiry based projects and also received training on how to use IPADs in lessons to promote enquiry. It was great to plan investigations with our primary and middle school staff and share ideas. The feedback from evaluation forms was extremely positive – many of the staff enjoyed the variety of ideas that they could take back into the classroom and said that it had made them think about how to change the focus of the lessons so that it was more student led.      
On the 14th November we hosted a Year 7/8 gifted and talented day for students from across Bury St Edmunds. We were overwhelmed by the response from the schools (each middle school in town was represented – not just our immediate trust). 72 students worked together on an engineering project that saw them planning and constructing a chain reaction using only the equipment given to them. They had to use five different scientific ideas within their sequence (such as pulleys, levers, electromagnets, chemical reactions etc) to snuff out a candle with the sequence beginning with a simple blow. It was astounding to see the variety of ideas that the students had and it was exciting to see how the students dealt with set backs and problems during the day. The adapted plans, amended constructions and solved problems as teams. Thank you to all the middle school staff that emailed me after the event with their comments – all had said that the students had gone back to school enthused and excited by the activity. The buzz that day was absolutely amazing – the smile on students when they actually got their sequences to work and the cries of ‘YES we did it!’ was something I will remember for a long time to come.                                                                                                                                                 
The staff from across have also been busy finalising the plans for our main December event – this will be a CHaOs event. Students from Year 4 – 8 will be joining us at the upper school to take part in a hands on science engagement day. University students from Cambridge will be running workshops with lots of bangs, crashes and messy science. They will also be working with our Science Captains in year 12/13, giving the students the opportunity to ask the undergraduates questions about careers and university.                                           
Planning for the STEM festival is going really well, I have been amazed with the number of local industries that have already agreed to run a workshop at the festival. I also had the pleasure of attending the Science Prize award evening on 10th November – what an inspiring evening! All of last year’s entries gave me food for thought for our own project. The trip to Derby was also really exciting – I personally loved the LEGO Trent engine.

 

                                                          
Staff CPD                                                                                                                                    Year 7/8 day

Targets for December:

  • Successful CHaOs day – positive evaluations from students

  • Department to complete planning for Stargazing event – meet with primary staff to support planning of Astronomy activities in class to complement this.

  • Colin, Nadine and John to continue with STEM festival plans and start marketing of the event.

Science Enquiry Training for Trust Staff

posted Nov 1, 2014, 3:22 PM by Mrs Payne

Thank you to all the staff that attended the Enquiry led CPD on 24th October.
It was an amazing turnout and it was truly fantastic to have so many staff members working together.

The concentration on Mr Barrett's face when trying to work out how many drops of water would fit on a 2p piece!

All good CPD should end with cupcakes and this one was no different with the exception that the trust staff designed Science cupcakes
How could you use cupcakes to teach a science idea?

Have a look at our attempts for ideas - can you guess the science topic?

        

   





October Diary

posted Oct 18, 2014, 11:09 AM by Mrs Payne   [ updated Oct 18, 2014, 11:10 AM ]

October Diary Entry

                                                                                                 Bury St Edmunds County Upper                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Rolls Royce Science Prize                                                                                                                     

October 2014 Diary Entry

Targets for October:

  • Make draft plans for STEM fair and make bookings.

  • A successful Year 6 Lawshall Trip – positive responses to evaluations

  • Plan Year 7/8 Gifted and Talented Day for November

The Year 6 students from the three middle schools within the Bury Trust spent a day at Lawshall woods on October 10th. The activity was led by the Greenlight trust – a local organisation that helps people to develop an understanding of the environment and teaches conservation skills. The students used enquiry skills to find out about plant populations in the woods. They developed their communication skills in order to build a giant food web from scratch but their favourite activity of the day was counting tree rings. They each took home a section of a tree they had sawed and had identified the year they were born from it. They noticed that the rings were different sizes and they wondered why this was, so as a follow up the students will be investigating the weather patterns in those years to see if there is a correlation. The year 13 Environmental scientists and Biologists also made a trip to the woods in the same week to gather data for their coursework. We were really pleased to further develop our relationship with the Greenlight trust through this activity and we are looking at other opportunities for outdoor learning.                                                                          

Nadine and Colin have been busy with organising bookings for the STEM festival and careers fair.  Part of the planning will be ensuring that a variety of companies are present. One exciting activity already booked is chocolate welding! Bookings now need to be finalised so that organisation of the venue can be done. Nadine met with STEMnet to see how STEM ambassadors could be used for future events.  Nadine and Colin to attend the ASE Conference in Ipswich which will allow for networking with other teachers and Scientists that are interested in involvement with the STEM Festival. We already have interest from other 6th Form colleges in the county that wish to attend the Careers fair.                                                                                                                                                    

Invitations have been sent out for the Year 7/8 Gifted and Talented Day to all middle schools in the area. It is expected that we will have around 60 students attending the event on the 14th November. Everything is now in place for the ‘Enquiry Led’ CPD on the 24th October. We have 22 members of staff involved in science teaching from across the trust attending. The course will involve members of staff from across the phases working together to develop lesson ideas and resources that promote enquiry.

Targets for November:

  • A successful CPD session for Academy staff – positive feedback received and impact seen in the classroom (to be evaluated in 3 months time, along with best practise shared in faculty meetings)

  • Successful Year 7/8 Event – Positive student and Teacher feedback

  • Continue to finalise bookings and planning for STEM festival

  • Complete timetable for CHaOs event on 5th December and liaise with CHaOs and Bury Trust schools

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