The Durston STEM Week 2023 was launched with a full school assembly with an exciting Science show designed to entertain a whole school from Reception to Year 8 pupils with spectacular science demonstrations and discussions to inspire pupils’ curiosity and imagination. With audience participation and exciting demonstrations, our visitor demonstrated how sounds are made by making a bucket sing, discovered why bubbles are lazy then made an enormous floating bubble, and finally, created an exploding dessert with a custard powder cloud and elephant toothpaste. For the next two days, Slime Workshops were conducted for all year groups. Proven to be one of the pupils’ favourites, the Slime Workshop is an exploration of ‘states of matter’ introducing ‘non-Newtonian fluids’ and ‘polymers’ whilst exploring the chemistry behind gooey stuff! Each child made and took home their own special coloured slime pot.
Years 7-8 had a workshop from a speaker from Compassion in World Farming. They discussed current food related issues such as the kind of chicken we eat in fast foods, additives / preservatives in foods, cost of food due to energy / war, selective breeding of animals for food consumption and other related issues.
Year 8 boys also put up a wonderful annual Science Fair exploring a variety of themes, some very innovative not previously investigated. Some examples include ‘Does food colouring psychologically affect taste?’, ‘Does music affect sleep pattern?’, ‘Does your reaction time improve after playing computer games?’ etc. There were some interesting results although our young scientists did find it challenging to correlate these with sound scientific explanations.
Maths morning saw pupils from all parts of the school take part in fun, practical and interesting activities. The aim was for pupils to:
- Have an appreciation for Mathematics in real life
- Encourage problem solving and promote thinking skills
One of the most interesting activities in Main School saw pupils link Sport and Mathematics. Here they had to explore correlation to see if their arm lengths would affect their performance in basketball. What an amazing way to spend time at school!
This is what the boys had to say about Maths Morning:
- I liked Maths morning because we used engineering skills
- Can we do this everyday
- Planning a holiday was my favourite
- I want to become an Engineer
- Maths Morning is fun
- Bridge building is my favourite
This is some of what took place in Junior School and Pre-Prep:
Reception used Skittles in a data collection activity. They sorted the skittles by colour before counting how many they had of each colour. They then used this information to create a bar chart. Discussions were had about which colour they had more or less of, as well as learning about the difference between amounts. To finish the boys watched as water was poured on a circle of skittles to create a rainbow pattern. The children are excited to be taking their sweets home to be eaten later!
Year 1’s Maths morning was full of excitement and happy energy. Activities included:
- how to make ooblek using cornflour, water and food colouring. This was a good chance for the pupils to use their measuring skills and to investigate the properties of Non-Newtonian fluids.
- how to make famous chocolate crackles. The ability to measure and mix carefully were needed to make these delicious treats.
- Creating a Maths themed quiz using the ‘Blooket App’. Each corrected question gave the pupils a chance to climb the leader board and ‘steal’ coins from one another.
Year 2 included:
- talks from Mrs Kini, a renal surgeon who dressed Thomas in real scrubs,
- Mr Dong a Computer Scientist, who built a car that transforms into a robot!
- The children enjoyed a magnificent Maths morning, making repeated patterns, using tally charts and making 3D shapes using straws and pipe cleaners.
Year 4 activities included:
- Escaping the Beach Hut – pupils had to solve a series of maths clues to enable their safe escape back to the beach and enjoy the sunshine.
Year 3 activities included:
- Enjoying the Junior School garden and Castlebar field.
- They attended a Harry Potter potion class and invented their own potion, which they later had to create in the garden with precise measuring of their ingredients.
Mr Dattoo – Head of Science and Mr Rajah – Head of Maths