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…


This week’s blog is written by our science club members1594.

This week was a wildlife adventure. Firstly, we went to explore in our pond and found, to our surprise, a baby frog and many, many tadpoles. Using our identification charts we also identified water beetles, worm-like creatures and water slaters.

Next, we went on a “mini beast hunt”, in search of invertebrates that live in our school gardens. Beneath the logs, we found millipedes, centipedes and plenty woodlice. We learnt that not every woodlouse is actually a woodlouse; many are pill bugs that can roll up into a tight ball. Woodlice cannot do this, although they can curl up. Isaac was delighted to find a Violet Ground beetle aka “Digby” but soon discovered that other children were not able to identify it in a classification key with the name he had given it. We learnt that, although we can have great fun discovering the living things in the grounds, we need to be responsible and make sure that we put them back where we found them. This was a great experience learning outside in the gorgeous sunshine.

I think science club is great, and more importantly fun!” Laura

“I enjoy science club because there is always something different to explore.” Grace W

I love science club because all the science experiments are cool and you learn something new.” Isabelle

Milo: “It is a great experience.”

Science club is super super amazing!” Amelia

Every week we wait for something new to do.” Grace T

Even though we have only had a turn for three weeks this term, I have learned lots and lots about science and I will be signing for science club next year !” Hannah – Rose






What a fantastic afternoon was had by the remaining 20 Year 6 pupils who attended Walthamstow Hall’s Science Week event! Not only did the pupils enjoy their experience, but so did the adults that accompanied them. Mrs Wood, Head of Science said ” Having the Year 6s  are her and her team’s highlight of the week and we thoroughly enjoy having them.” As always, St John’s pupils behaved impeccably and participated enthusiastically in all the activities.

Firstly, Mrs Boardman  accompanied us to the library where we worked on space poetry and designed our own spaceships. This was followed by several exciting activities in the science block.

In the biology department, we were set a SPACE CHALLENGE, in which we had to count how many beads we could transfer in a minute with and without a thick glove, simulating the challenges faced by astronauts making repairs in space and how  tricky it is to work in thick gloves. Tegan and Ollie were highly adept at this (perhaps future astronauts in the making!).

Next, in Chemistry, we explored the use of UV light, treated fabrics for space suits and tested to see if they were fire retardant. The highlight for most was the simulation of The Big Bang, using exploding eggs filled with hydrogen. WHAT A BANG!!!  Pupils in year 6, in a recent survey, requested the opportunity to explode and ignite things. They were not disappointed!!

Next, in Physics we were asked “Why do stars twinkle?” and with the use of lazers and steam we learned why. This was followed by the making of a telescope each and  we plotted named stars on an enormous star map using the latest software.

Every year, I think Wally Hall can’t do better and each year surpasses the last. Every little detail planned and delivered expertly. Thank you to them for their wonderful generosity in providing our pupils with such enriching science opportunities.


Once in a life time opportunity

IMG_2453“Once in lifetime opportunity” These were the words Mrs Wood, Head of Science at Walthamstow Hall announced as 6 lucky science ambassadors arrived at the lab.  The children were told that they were some of the few really privileged people to be able to hold moon rock and meteorite samples which Walthamstow had managed to borrow. 4.5 billion years old many of the samples were. Can you imagine that? The children were escorted around by teaching staff and sixth form students who explained the specimens to them, and showed them how to use the magnifying glasses. Some of the pieces were most peculiar especially Libyan Desert Glass which looked like quartz but felt like plastic.The Henbury Meteorite fragment was amazing. So heavy!

We held a  meteor fragment formed 150 million years before earth and were told that we were holding the oldest thing ever discovered.Amazing! As always, our ambassadors behaved impeccably and were interested and enthusiastic, representing St John’s beautifully.  Sadly, that was the last of our special lunchtime visits, however next week Year 6 are heading over to Walthamstow Hall to take part in some of their science week activities. Watch this space to read all about it.