One of the big benefits of teaching in an international school is having the Primary and Secondary schools on the same campus. This week it has been Science Week. My children in Year 3 have been focusing on Alexander Fleming – researching him before creating their own Kahoot quizzes. They have also grown their own mould, created geysers with Coke and Mentos, designed and constructed parachutes and evaporated water to test for salt. They started the week by watching a Chemist from Secondary exploding bottles with frozen carbon dioxide. They ended it in Mrs Chadd’s lab over in Secondary taking part in a number of exciting demonstrations, the culmination of which had me set on fire in front of my class by my loving wife (in reality she set fire to methane bubbles that I had resting on hands!)
The purpose of the week has been to create that sense of awe and wonder that can get lost in the constant barrage of new material in the new curriculum. The children have grown to be positively enthused by science and I have been amazed at how children as young as 7 or 8 can understand, use and apply so effectively the terms independent variable, dependent variable and control variable. One of my favourite moments of the week was watching my class test their parachutes whilst using scientific vocabulary confidently and accurately to critique each others test designs for fairness.
The STEM (or STEAM) subjects are vitally important and due to curriculum changes and the removal of the science SATs paper, the emphasis on science has been lost in many schools. Weeks like this week have shown me (and the children in my class) what we have been missing and I hope that as we get used to this new curriculum we all find a way to give science the focus and time that it deserves!