DNA technology is set to become extremely important for addressing some of our major global issues, including shortages of food and fuel and control of disease. Since the completion of the Human Genome Project, coupled with advances in genomic editing and the emergent area of synthetic biology, this field is exploding and will affect us all.
Our project was about bringing this cutting edge science to a wider audience, using our A Level students as teachers. In doing so, we felt that we would be developing our students’ knowledge of this area of biology, hopefully inspiring passion and enthusiasm by bringing them up to expert status. The project aimed to stretch them, taking them beyond their exam specification and making them aware of the opportunities developing in this field. We also hoped to enhance our students’ communication skills and raise their ethical awareness along the way.
Out of This World is a series of whole school, cross curricula STEM activities intended to exploit the natural interest of both genders in the exciting topic of Space. Activities have been hands-on and creative with outcomes that have enhanced the curriculum, making it more meaningful for children.
Over the course of the year we have leveraged the excitement being generated around Tim Peake, Britain’s first official Astronaut to be heading into space, aboard the ISS. This has culminated in the designing and making of purposeful products related to a life in space. To achieve this we have invested in 3D scanning and printing, thereby challenging the children to use their problem-solving skills to create real devices.
The project has been driven by a series of specifically designed Space Passports for each of the seven year groups from Reception up to Year 6. Each curriculum area has had its own set of space-related objectives.
The aim of the ECOMAD (Environment Conservation – Observe, Measure, Analyse, Discover) project was to inspire pupils by engaging their natural curiosity in the world around them. Contributing to citizen science nature surveys throughout the year, children at Churchend School have developed a deep understanding of the vital role scientists and mathematicians play in the preservation of our environment.
During the project external experts, practical activities and volunteering opportunities were used to enthuse children about science and maths, raising their aspirations. Pupils’ confidence to talk about science and maths has significantly grown. From discussions, over half the children would consider working in careers involving STEM subjects. The project has helped children establish for themselves the links between science, maths and English. Teaching staff have also benefited, becoming more confident in teaching science and are enthusiastic about extending the project further. ECOMAD has been phenomenally positive for pupils, teachers and parents at Churchend.
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