New Academic Year and plenty of science planned!!

Returning to school to hear the fabulous news that we have been awarded the Gold Primary Science Quality Mark was wonderful as well as inspiring. We have lots planned for the year ahead and know how much it  will benefit our children. I will endeavour to keep you informed of the exciting science happenings through  our “Science Snippets” newsletters and blog.

New this year, is Fizz Pop Bang Science Club, held every Wednesday led by “Hyper” Holly. From what I have heard from the children, it is fabulous fun and they have enjoyed making and taking something home. I was lucky enough this week to see some of the session in which the children explored how we taste things before making fizzy sherbet.Much excitement and great learning too!

 

 

Year One’s Autumn Fun

How wonderful to have a bright-eyed, new class of children to get to know! It really has been a pleasure to meet them and get our learning under way. This term we are beginning our topic of Nature Explorer, with the well-known and much loved story character Percy the Park Keeper leading the way. Using his story ‘After the Storm’ we have been learning about weather and oak trees and also what happened nearly thirty years ago during the real Great Storm of 1987.

We thought about different types of weather that Percy may encounter in his park. I then thought we would make weather hats, but one super-thinker had the great idea to turn them into weather belts, a suggestion met with enthusiasm by many!

We have also taken up the  challenge of spending five minutes every day focussing on spelling words correctly. This includes the tricky, exception words that we have to learn to spell correctly by the end of the year, as well as applying our phonics carefully for all other words. We are thinking up imaginative ways to learn and apply our spellings, this week we played a stepping stone game in our socks!

We are half way through the term and still have so many exciting things to learn and do, including our first Forest School experience – I had better find my wellies I think!

 

School Awarded Primary Science Gold Quality Mark!

We are very proud to announce that we have been awarded a Gold Primary Science Quality Mark, congratulations Mrs Casewell!

The Primary Science Quality Mark is led by the University of Hertfordshire, School of Education in partnership with the Primary Science Teaching Trust. It is supported by the Royal Society for Chemistry, the Ogden Trust and the Association for Science Education.

Jane Turner, PSQM National Director said: “Gaining a Primary Science Quality Award is a significant achievement for a school.  The profile and quality of science teaching and learning in each awarded school is very high. Children are engaging with great science both in and outside the classroom, developing positive attitudes towards science as well as secure science understanding and skills. Science subject leaders, their colleagues, head teachers, children, parents and governors should be very proud.”

To read the full report for St John’s click here

First harvest!

Eco and gardening club were eager to show me what they had grown in the vegetable garden. Wow! What a spread! Carrots, cauliflower, radish, courgettes and beans  were presented beautifully. Well done to Mrs Foss and her green fingered team.

Discovery Zone takes to the road

On Tuesday this week, 15 Year 6s travelled with their Discovery Zone to Halstead Primary School where 90 pupils had the opportunity to take part in some hands-on explorative science. This was a wonderful opportunity for both our pupils and theirs to work collaboratively and to share science expertise, developing both subject knowledge and the confidence in communicating it.

Thank you to both yourself and the year 6 children for a wonderful morning. All the children here absolutely loved it! I was very impressed with how professional and knowledgeable your pupils were. Hopefully we can do it again.” Alicia Troth, Halstead Science Leader

Our letters have been received. Here are few to read.  

Sevenoaks School astounds St John’s Year 3s and Year 5s

Yesterday, what felt like an army of teachers and Sixth Form pupils, arrived at school and set up the most amazing carousel of activities for the very fortunate Year 3 and Year 5 classes. Thank you to the staff and the students for today’s workshops – they truly were amazing and we appreciate the effort and enthusiasm for Science!

There were so many activities on offer that it is difficult to write about them all. However, having spoken to the children these are a few of their highlights.

Sixth From students planned and led the activities which included Chemistry, Biology and Physics. The children were amazed by the highly sophisticated  microscopes and being able to observe different specimen slides.

In physics, they explored forces making paper aeroplanes, parachutes and boats.

Many different skulls were brought in for the children to observe teeth and think about whether the animals were herbivores, carnivores or omnivores. The most amazing specimen was an elephant tooth, which weighed more than a trombone and  was enormous!

The children were led in setting up their own investigations to explore the conditions preferred by woodlice, maggots and flower beetles.

Through the use of optical illusions, they learned how the eye sees and explored how the ear hears sound.


The children learn how to use the microscopes.
     

The children look closely at a range of skulls and animal teeth.

 

 

“Mrs Turner, this was the BEST day of my life! ! Joaquim Year 3

“Mrs Casewell, you should have been our class today. You would have loved the science. It was amazing. The best!” Lily Year 5

“It was the most amazing day. We learned so much. ” Gracie Year 5

“My best part was that there were so many things to do and that everything was hands on. The people leading were very good an a explaining everything to us so we could understand the science.” Elliot Year 5

 

 

“Science Friction” Assembly

What an exciting way to start the week as “Gooey Stewie” entertained us with his FizzPop Science Friction show! Hilariously funny and packed with science facts, this show amazed the audience. Arthur. who volunteered, was surprised to find himself sitting in the middle of a hover board, which we discovered was easier to move with the help of air (in the form of a giant’s hairdryer) which reduced the friction.

FizzPop Science will be running an after school science club next September. So look out for the registration forms in the book bags so as not to miss out on this exciting opportunity.

“I am definitely signing up for that club. So much fun!”  Year 4 pupil

Robo-tastic Assembly!

What a treat! NAO, the humanoid robot visited, along with his “friend” Graeme Lawrie, Head of Science from Sevenoaks School, to entertain and educate the children about robotics, coding and programming. The hall was filled with excitement as the children spotted our special visitor sitting on a table as they entered.  Both staff and children were astounded by what NAO could do. Who would have thought a robot could do Gangnam Style dancing, Tai-chi and could sit when asked! Truly exceptional!

We learned how many hours it takes to program him, and how he has built in sensors around his body and over 50 motors in his joints that enable him to move in a remarkably human-like fashion. Not only that, but he has been programmed to protect himself from falling by putting out his hands when he senses that he is overbalancing. Every move he makes requires a complex set of codes, to not only move the motor, but also to code a counter move to enable him to balance.  Remarkable!

As the children left the hall and throughout the afternoon, they could be heard talking excitedly about the robot and how much they wanted to have one. I am certain they would have come home last night “buzzing”, with much to tell you about the robot at school.

Daniel (Year 5) came up to me immediately and asked, “Mrs Casewell, if I wanted to become a robotics engineer when I am older, what subjects do I need to do?”  I am sure there are many others who have been inspired too.

Year 4, were led in coding workshops in the afternoon and it is hoped that Mr Lawrie will return to work with other classes in the months and years to come. The children now clearly see the link between the coding we do at school, through Scratch and other applications, to the real world of robotic programming.

An enormous thank you to Mr Lawrie and Sevenoaks School! And of course NAO!

K’NEX Challenge 2017

Year 5 and 6 were kept busy in the hall all morning on Tuesday with a K’nex workshop facilitated by Sam from BAE Systems. They were set the challenge to construct a vehicle that would travel the furthest harnessing the power of the wind. In teams of three, the set about designing, building, testing and amending their vehicles until the final test just before lunch. What a vast array of designs there were!

Our winning team, who will be heading off to the final next Tuesday, demonstrated team work, perseverance, resilience and adaptability, being able to construct a vehicle that was stable, travelled the straightest and the furthest! Congratulations!

Planes and Pizza!!

What a fantastic term in year 1 – full of investigation and discovery. Our topic about flight proved to be immense fun as we explored the best material to make a helicopter, based on the principal of how a sycamore seed flies. We were surprised to find that paper flew and spun the best with craft foam a close second. The children also came in enthused after their homework challenge to make  a parachute for a toy, asking ‘what flying thing are we making next?’

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We continued with our investigations by designing, making and improving paper kites. Luckily we were blessed with a windy afternoon to carry out our testing, and retesting once we had strengthened our kites with drinking straws. The kites looked really professional and the children were keen to take them home rather than have them displayed in the classroom.

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Paper planes were our next challenge! Many of the boys professed to be experts already, however they keenly followed the video instructions to make a dart plane. With our planes decorated and named (Some with hugely creative names like ‘Blaze’ and ‘Sapphire’) we once again went outside to see what our creations would do. After a few trial runs, our planes were flying brilliantly, especially after adding blue tac to balance them.

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The children were thrilled to arrive one morning to find a Pizza Shop in the conservatory! Our maths about wholes, halves, quarters, money, and counting in twos, fives and tens was fun and practical, as well as helping our communication skills and manners!

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The children are now wondering what might appear in the conservatory next…