The Perse School

From skeletons and strawberries to bees and bangs – the many wonders of Prep Science Week

11 Jun 2018

Science Week at the Prep celebrated the wonderful diversity of science from discovering more about our bodies and minds to pushing boundaries with artificial intelligence and rocket travel.

The variety of talks and workshops, many delivered by Perse parents, is a real tribute to the thirst for knowledge and intellectual curiosity in our school community.

The impressive range of talks about different branches of medicine gave children an inspiring and uplifting insight into medical research and treatment. They were given a fascinating introduction to immunology (Dr Kaneider-Kaser), microbes (Dr Cooke) and the development of drugs and medicines for individual needs (Dr Priestley and AstraZeneca).

Children also learned about different parts of the body – the skeleton (Professor Chappell), the lungs (Dr Mahadeva), the digestive system (Dr Kaser), the brain (Dr Nik Sharma) and the heart (practical investigation for Year 5). Mr Alexander’s use of art, visual games and optical illusions illustrated how the eye works and Dr Jyoti Sharma gave Prep pupils an interesting insight into the daily life of a GP.

The workings of the mind were explored by Dr Foster who explained the psychology behind conformity and conversion in her fascinating talk about how to make friends and influence people.  Conversely, the Life Bus taught children the importance of resisting conformity and peer pressure in critical situations.

Children were given a fascinating insight into the animal world during the week. Three vets (Professor Bacon, Dr Skelly and Mrs Fleming) spoke about diagnosing symptoms, caring for pets’ eyes and vision, identifying breeds and even operating on tigers and crocodiles! We learnt about all mammals great and small (Dr Mukherjee) and bee keeping (Ms Ridler), whilst Year 3 visited Shepreth Wildlife Park, handling some of the creatures on show.

The science behind flight was a key theme of the week. Different forms of flight were explored from building a model Hawker Hurricane (Mr Jefferson and Sci-Hi) to the wonders of rocket travel and the possibility of travelling to America in less than half an hour in the future (Mr Macdonald). A highlight was the opportunity of sitting in a RAND aeroplane with Youth and Education Support and imagining what it would be like to fly a microlight. A visit from HoverAid provided an exciting finale for the week and children enjoyed watching teachers racing the hovercraft over the playing fields in front of the school.

Susannah Evans challenged children to reconsider their perception of engineers and to consider how engineering is integral to many aspects of life. Budding engineers enjoyed moulding Wallace and Gromit figures, bridge building and creating spaghetti towers with Mr Bedford. Children were also given a glimpse of the future through a fascinating talk about artificial intelligence by Mr Hogan.

Strawberries and ice cream created another highlight of the week. DNA was extracted from strawberries (Dr Schmitt and Dr Campos) and children made ice cream in a workshop with NAPP Pharmaceuticals. DNA extraction also featured in a Year 6 science lesson at the Upper, whilst Year 5 enjoyed an Upper science lesson about bangs and explosions.

The Prep embraced cross-curricular opportunities throughout the week. Children listened in awe to science fiction and enjoyed drawing futuristic cities and cars. Cambridge University Botanic Garden provided pupils with the opportunity to study plant variation whilst sketching botanical illustrations.

Science Week at the Prep, taught children that ‘science is everywhere’ (Prep pupil) and reinforced that the ‘important thing is not to stop questioning.  Curiosity has its own reason for existing.’ (Einstein).




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