Loving The Lab


How can we encourage a love of the sciences at all levels of learning? We asked Broomwood Hall, a co-ed Pre-prep and girls’ Preparatory school and Northcote Lodge, a boys’ Preparatory school.

 

 

“Science is fundamental in the curriculum – differentiating between fact and fiction, especially in today’s age of bombardment from social media, is an essential skill. In science, we learn to challenge our ideas by investigation. Skills including testing, making predictions, recording and interpreting results and drawing conclusions are honed. These skills develop our sense of the world and get the children thinking for themselves.”
Amanda Holland, Head of Junior Science & Physics Teacher, Broomwood Hall

At what age can you first fire the imagination for Science?
Children are natural scientists, exploring the world around them from birth, tasting, touching and exploring. The science curriculum starts from EYFS and continues through to KS3.

What’s the first area you explore?
Science starts in Reception with lessons on understanding the world. We discuss dinosaurs, which they love and later, homes and habitats.

What scientific experiments can be done safely at school?
With the correct precautions, most can be done. In biology, this includes dissection and in physics, the children make their own electromagnets, investigate electrical circuits and find the energy in food.

What is the children’s favourite activity in the science lab?
Year 6 children love doing investigations, using Bunsen burners and finding mini-beasts.

How does science help in a child’s understanding of life?
Differentiating between fact and fiction is fundamental. In science, we learn to challenge our ideas by investigation. The skills of testing, making predictions, recording and interpreting results and drawing conclusions are honed.

What do children think about a world with less plastic by 2042?
They were all very wholeheartedly behind this idea. They are concerned about dolphins and whales suffering because of our plastic.

Do girls and boys approach Science differently?
In our view, no.

Is there a famous scientist that the children aspire to be?
David Attenborough, Einstein, Newton.

Do you have any famous scientist alumni?
Not yet….

 

 

“The purpose of science – to understand the world – means it has extraordinary reach. The benefits of developing critical thinking, scepticism and problem-solving skills are difficult to overstate. We aim for a broad approach inside the classroom and out. Boys have been thrilled (and victorious!) in building and programming First Lego League competition robots, we hold a very popular annual science fair, we bring Apollo lunar rocks for boys (and similarly awestruck teachers!) to examine, we have visitors bring pop-up planetariums and demonstrate the birth and formation of the solar system, we have a STEM club, extra enrichment lessons and science trips to Greenwich Observatory, the Science Museum, a whole week in the South of France and plenty more besides. We are proud of what we offer and the boys love it!” David Luard, Northcote Lodge

At what age can you first fire the imagination for Science?
From the youngest pupils! Year 4 boys are thrilled by building circuits, Year 5 by dissecting flowers. They love the practical work as it’s fun but it also teaches them how the world works. Any five-year-old peering under a log is enchanted by the squirming bugs under it. Fascination with nature and how the world works is pretty innate.

What’s the first area you explore?
Habitats; organisms, adaptations, food chains and we include a much-loved trip to the zoo.

What scientific experiments can be done safely at school?
We can perform most experiments, though nothing as explosive as the boys would prefer! Lab Safety is the first lesson we teach.

What is the children’s favourite activity in the science lab?
Dry ice and flame testing are firm favourites!

How does science help in a child’s understanding of life?
Science is about how the world works and helps boys enjoy a deeper understanding of  life,  eclipses, what fire is, how lights work, the digestive system (making bread-poo is a favourite) – and so much more – all fascinates them. We tie everything to everyday life.

What do children think about a world with less plastic by 2042?
That it is fundamentally a good thing although they are light on specifics! They have a very clear appreciation of the importance of being environmentally considerate.

Do girls and boys approach Science differently?
Maybe but it’s a moot point:  we’re an all-boys school!

Is there a famous scientist that the children aspire to be?
Steven Hawking is a popular one although usually their role models tend to be sports people. Though some of them do aim to be the next Brian Cox!

Do you have any famous scientist alumni?
Not yet but we are pretty confident we will soon!



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