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