What a fabulous start to science this year!  The children have embraced their lessons with enthusiasm and have explored a vast array of interesting hands-on activities linking to their topic of study.  This week celebrates ‘World Space Week’ internationally and the declared theme for 2021 has been announced as ‘Women in Space’, to celebrate women who have significantly contributed to the space sector.  World Space Week is defined as “an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition”.  This encompasses the unique features of being human, including the sense of curiosity which Science naturally induces and an appreciation for how Science improves our daily lives.  That is why the Science department are launching a poster competition this week for children to research women in Space and report their findings in a creative way as an A4 or A3 poster.  We are looking for research that explores how these women have contributed to making our lives better.  Entries can be handed in to Miss Prior in Room 5, by 15th October.

World Space week links to Year 5’s topic in Science this term of ‘Earth of Space’.  The children have been learning about the planets and created some amusing mnemonics to remember their order, with a favourite being: ‘My Very Excellent Mate Just Served Us Nachos.’  The children have also been learning about different theories of the solar system, exploring how the geocentric and heliocentric models have developed over time.  5P particularly enjoyed performing in a class play, where every child played their own unique character from history, ranging from early humans to Newton.

In addition to this, Year 5 visited the Science Observatory at Herstmonceux, and became astronomers themselves with an incredibly special experience of looking through one of the enormous telescopes and clearly seeing Saturn and its rings with their own eyes!  The children also identified Jupiter and Saturn in the night sky and witnessed the International Space Station fly over their heads from West to East, for a whole six minutes.  We tried to be as quiet as possible to see if we could hear the astronauts, but alas, we think they were too far away so we waved at them instead.  The children were also lucky to see the harvest moon on their night walk back through the woods and continued their stargazing back at the tepee base camp around the fire, and managed to see many star constellations clearly as they tucked into a tasty supper treat before lights out.

In Year 6, the children have been learning about ‘Light’ with a multitude of hands-on activities to experience the properties of light, first hand.  For example, the children demonstrated the law of reflection by using ray boxes to measure the angles of incidence and angles of reflection.  This then progressed to the creation of a working periscope, using carefully placed mirrors to prove the law of reflection and to demonstrate how light travels in straight lines.

The children enjoyed proving Newton’s experimental results using prisms to split white light into all the colours in the visible light spectrum.  It was delightful to see the astonishment on the children’s faces as they looked through the prisms and exclaimed “there are rainbows everywhere!”  Colour wheels were created in a speedy fashion as the children was so eager to try out the colour wheels and see for themselves how all the colours in the rainbow turn white when the string is twisted and pulled tightly.  Some children were particularly resilient in trying to get their colour wheels to work properly; resilience being one of the dispositions that often goes hand in hand with science practical!  Year 6 were extremely creative with card, torches and lollipop sticks to produce group shadow theatre shows which outlined the argument between Hooke and Newton regarding the dispersion of light.

Year 7 and 8 kicked off the new school year with lab safety and identifying hazards in the lab, with Year 7 earning their Bunsen burner licences.

Both of these year groups happened to start on the same topic this year in science, although Year 7 are following the new ISEB syllabus.  The children have reviewed the structure of different cells such as animal, plant, bacterial and yeast cells, and learned the functions of these organelles.  Year 7 stained onion cells with iodine with Dr Moore and drew their observations.

Year 8 experimented with yeast and sugar, visibly proving that the gas carbon dioxide is produced in the respiration of yeast, by checking on their balloons.  The balloons were in house colours, and so this became a little bit competitive!

Year 7 and 8 are progressing at a good pace through the syllabus, having completed a Cells knowledge quiz last week and have now moved on to different topics.  Year 7 are learning all about Matter in Chemistry, and were excited to explore different states of matter and changes of state through boiling water to make some jelly in a boiling tube with Miss Prior.  Year 8 have started a new Physics topic, learning about Energy, and have observed a circus of hands-on examples for different energy stores and transfers.  The Year 8 children are very aware of local issues of fuel delivery over the last few weeks which gave rise to a discussion about renewable and non-renewable energy resources; a global issue that humanity faces.

Becky Prior

Head of Science