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.