From Early Years through to the top two years, we aim to infuse pupils with a love of science, knowing that their future will be powered by STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics).
Exploring Science Through Play
In the Early Years we start to gain scientific knowledge which we build on throughout our educational journey at the School. We are developing our skills of observation, prediction, critical thinking and discussion through carrying out our own experiments and exploring different ways to show our findings.
We love nothing more than getting up to our elbows in Science. Feeling, squidging, kneading, squeezing – this instinctive type of play is crucial to our learning and development, and it forms the building blocks of knowledge about the world around us, materials and how they work.
The children in Oak and Acorn have recently experimented by mixing paint with shaving foam and created some masterpieces using various painting techniques: marbling ink, gloop painting and printing with vegetables.
Science is All Around Us in Pre-Prep
The teaching of Science is not just classroom based: our extensive grounds are wonderful for learning about mini beasts in their natural habitat in Forest School lessons. The children also make full use of the School wildlife pond for pond dipping, again helping them learn about their environment.
Each term all the children go on an outing which is often Science based, for example in the Spring Term the Year 2 visits Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens and Reception visits a working farm as part of their topic on farm animals.
The children are taught about the life-cycle of animals. In Reception, the children incubate eggs and have the wonderful experience of observing the chicks hatch out of their eggs. They learn how to care for these chicks and watch them grow over a two-week period before they are returned to the farm.
Through the teaching of Science, the children are taught the following skills: observing using simple equipment; performing simple tests; identifying and classifying; using observations and ideas to answer questions; and gathering and recording data.
Building On Our Scientific Learning in the Prep School
In the Science Department, we love doing practical investigations – not only are they fun, but they are also a great way to learn about the scientific method. From a very early stage, we get the children talking about what they think will happen in their Science lessons and to have an opinion about the result of their investigations. This way they can start to build on their knowledge, regardless of whether they are right or wrong.
In Year 3 and 4 we start to introduce some investigative skills including the concept of planning an experiment and describing a fair test, and we progressively build up to being able to plan an experiment effectively; record results with high levels of precision; analyse and explain their observations; and evaluate their investigation using prior knowledge and detailed scientific explanations.
We support the children’s learning in lessons with a varied programme of visits and workshops, including the Norwich Science Festival, as well as by taking part in local and national science competitions, such as the Top Class inter-school science quiz.
We recently invited Engineering Tomorrow into School for a workshop with the Year 7 and 8s, where the children were introduced to the wealth of opportunities that a career in engineering can offer. We discussed the importance of energy resources and how technology can help to feed, water and power a world population rapidly approaching 8 billion.
The main activity was to work in teams, being creative and tenacious when designing a model electric car. The children needed to review their designs in order to improve their range, speed and look and then retest the car in order to measure its improvement. The children had a great time and by the end, many more were happy to consider that their career may well be within STEM.