Stretch and Challenge in Science

This week I endeavoured to improve on my GCSE grade C in Science by visiting lessons across the Science department.

On Wednesday I popped into Mr Clapp’s lesson with Middle 5th Set 2. Pupils were excitedly examining sunflower leaves under a microscope in order to draw and label the component parts. Mr Clapp wistfully reminded us of ‘sitting in a field on a summer day and pulling apart a leaf’.

Learning point: Leaves “breathe” like lungs do.

 Downstairs Mr O’Connor introduced Lower 5th set 2 to oxidisation, a process cleverly explained during the lesson by Ruby Bright. This industrious class completed a set of practical experiments followed by word and chemical equations explaining several oxidisation processes.

Learning point: Any acid mixed with metal oxide produces a new bond plus water.

The next day I visited Biology Set 4, where Mrs Burr navigated her class through a revision sheet on digestion. Daisy Marsh gave a thorough and detailed explanation of the role of fibre as it moves through the body.

Learning point: Water is absorbed in the large intestine.

The week’s visits finished on a crescendo with Dr Fernandez’s Chemistry lesson, where Middle 5th Set 1 were learning about covalent bonding. Due to a clever blend of visual prompts and structuring by the end pupils were drawing dot and cross diagrams for a series of covalent compounds. The group felt incredibly free to think and ask questions, such as “Can covalent bonds be separated” (Artem Geskin). We will need a whole Curiosity Shop lecture to answer this!

Learning point: H2O relates to two hydrogen atoms bonded to one oxygen atom.

It is truly invigorating to see pupils with such enthusiasm for Science. The Science department stimulate learning cleverly through a process of discovery and investigation. This is the aspirational, yet supportive teaching needed to inspire the next generation of scientists. They certainly taught me a thing or two.

Anya Bensberg, Deputy Head Academic