This week marks British Science Week, with an overarching theme of Innovating For The Future.

In Pre-Prep We have taken part in lots of exciting scientific projects and investigations, including creating posters with the theme of British Science Week in mind. We have also been learning about ‘smashing stereotypes’, where we have learnt that, although there is still a way to go, the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sectors are much more diverse than ever before, from Fei-Fei Li and her pioneering work in Artificial Intelligence to Mae Jamison, the first woman of colour to travel to space.

Each class in Prep shared ideas for what the future might look like, initially concentrating on classrooms, transportation, food and fashion.  All children were set the task of producing a piece of work linked to the theme with current submissions including: a video clip of a home-made Rube Goldberg machine, a model of a space elevator, a solar-powered car, a hybrid hoverboard and a poster of a multi-energy tree generating electricity (which uses renewable sources including biomass, wind and solar).

Year 3’s first in-class challenge was to build a bridge over a span of 20 cm using nothing but 5 sheets of A4 paper as well as very limited amounts of tape. The children looked at using different shapes to improve the strength of the bridges before testing with some weights. Some bridges astounded us all by supporting well over a kilogram! The second in-class challenge involved building, and then improving, air-powered paper rockets!  Inspired by the recent rover which NASA landed on Mars, the children came up with some great suggestions as to how the designs could be improved.

Year 4 has been designing and making boats, investigating whether the shape of the boat affects the number of marbles it could carry.  They carried out Fair Tests and determined that in fact the shape of the boat does affect the weight supported.

Year 5 has looked briefly at the history of space exploration before focusing on NASA’s future projects.  They then carried out the Engineering Design Process to construct a lunar lander.  Next week, the task is to rig a device to land a craft in a precise location within a lunar crater.  This is challenging and the children will need to demonstrate ‘perseverance’ of their own.

The children in Year 6 have been designing a colony for humans to live on Mars, with consideration for both human health and happiness.  They started by viewing a video showing the UK’s involvement in the Perseverance mission and the wealth of space-related career opportunities available in the UK.  After learning a little about the hostile conditions humans will encounter on Mars, the children worked in Engineering Teams to design their colony.  Construction of the colonies will commence next week!

Across the whole school there has been incredible engagement with these exciting projects and, consequently, rapid learning in many areas.  The children have seen that science really is ‘for all’ and they have demonstrated core skills of collaboration, resilience, perseverance, communication, creativity and critical thinking.

Mrs Simmons and Mr Fogarty