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Department Focus – Science

October 2017

We are delighted to welcome Miss Khan to the science department and welcome back Mrs Barnett from maternity leave, bringing our department to nine teachers. We are also very pleased to welcome Shir Dor who has joined our very able team of technicians for this year before she starts medical school next September.

This summer our pupils sat the new A levels and whilst the style of exams was very different from the old AS/A Level exams, with no practical exam, we were delighted with the results. This year our alumni have gone on to study a wide range of subjects including computer science, physiotherapy, biomedical science, neuroscience, medicine, human biology, pharmacology and drug discovery, psychology and cognitive neuroscience, biomedical engineering, earth sciences, physics and automotive engineering. We are extremely proud of their achievements and wish them the best of luck with their studies.

Year 11 pupils worked extremely hard and were rewarded with excellent iGCSE results in the summer. The current Year 11 pupils are the first cohort to be entered for the new GCSEs which are closer in style to the iGCSE science that our pupils have been taking for the past five years. This is advantageous to our pupils as the science department are well versed in teaching for linear courses, however there is new content in the exam specifications which is of a far higher level of complexity than seen in previous GCSE exam specifications.

YavLab is a permanent fixture within the science department, however this year it has a new twist; to provide individualised support to small groups of Year 11 pupils who need additional help. Pupils are paired with A level science students depending on the area of science they are finding challenging. A member of the department is always on hand if needed by the very capable Sixth Form students. Feedback has been extremely positive by those who attend as the pupils appreciate the guidance and tutoring which is delivered in a relaxed setting.

The key highlights of 2016-2017 were:

  • TfL Innovate challenge – where our Year 12 team of eight pupils made it to the finals and were rewarded with two weeks’ work experience in TfL covering a range of areas.
  • Safe Cracking Competition – one team made it to the semi-finals and whilst they didn’t make it to the finals in Israel, they did complete the Silver CREST Award!
  • Citizen Science Air Quality Enrichment – the pupils who chose this enrichment were part of a pilot project using new equipment and techniques to monitor the local air quality. In July they presented their findings to leading science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) educators in the Science Museum Lecture hall. The experience they gained in researching and presenting was immense and will stand them in good stead in any area of STEM in the future.

You can read Noah Arazi’s and Joshua Gross’ accounts of the enrichment here

The key highlights of 2016-2017 were:

  • TfL Innovate challenge – where our Year 12 team of eight pupils made it to the finals and were rewarded with two weeks’ work experience in TfL covering a range of areas.
  • Safe Cracking Competition – one team made it to the semi-finals and whilst they didn’t make it to the finals in Israel, they did complete the Silver CREST Award!
  • Citizen Science Air Quality Enrichment – the pupils who chose this enrichment were part of a pilot project using new equipment and techniques to monitor the local air quality. In July they presented their findings to leading science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) educators in the Science Museum Lecture hall. The experience they gained in researching and presenting was immense and will stand them in good stead in any area of STEM in the future.

The key highlights of 2017 – 2018 so far!

  • We are now a partner school in the Stimulating Physics Network and look forward to greater collaboration with our colleagues from other schools.
  • Training of Institute of Physics Yavneh College Science Ambassadors at Bayfordbury Science Centre took place on 17th Oct (see below).
  • Launch of TfL Innovate Challenge took place on 17th Oct and we look forward to the possibility of two teams entering the competition.
  • AG&T visit to Imperial College on 17th Nov to hear a lecture on ‘Turning Light into Matter’
  • Year 12 biology and chemistry students will be attending Science Day in February in London which encompasses a series of lectures regarding breakthroughs in a variety of scientific disciplines as well as videos and exhibitions.
  • Activities for British Science Week (formerly known as National Science and Engineering Week, NSEW)

We are delighted to report that feedback from our current students and alumni on the support and guidance that is given to pupils in the Sixth Form when applying to science related degrees and for work experience is extremely helpful and gratefully received.

As a department we endeavour to imbue a sense of excitement and wonder with the sciences so that our students appreciate and understand the impact of scientific developments in the world in which we live no matter what career path they choose. Our society needs more students to follow STEM careers in order to develop new and innovative solutions to the problems of the changing world. To this end there are many resources in the LRC where pupils can research STEM subjects to further their knowledge. In addition, throughout the year we will be providing information on public talks and exhibitions that may be of interest to different age groups so that pupils can attend them out of school hours.

My Day at The Institution of Physics by Katie Saleh

Our training day at the Bayfordbury Observatory was an incredible experience. We arrived for a day of training to become ambassadors for the Institute of Physics. All the experiments were so much fun and everyone was so friendly.

One of my favourite experiments that we were taught was the rocket experiment, as we learnt about the burnt fuel and the chemical reaction (through bubbling) that is produced when a rocket makes its way into space.

Also, we were lucky enough to go to the planetarium which was a truly incredible as it felt as if each planet was coming towards you. In the planetarium, we were shown close views of the aurora which was made of such beautiful and exquisite greens and purples.

In the afternoon, each group had 15 minutes to create a presentation of one of the experiments we learned and show it to the rest of the group. My group and I worked together to show a how a material found in babies’ nappies was designed to help astronauts go to the toilet during spacewalks. Our group removed the crystals inside the nappies and showed the audience how much water the crystals could absorb. We discovered that the nappies can absorb more than one litre of water!

The aim of this day was to prepare us for becoming Science Ambassadors. Later this year we will be going to primary schools to teach the pupils the experiments we have learnt. We learnt skills in how to engage the audience, keep them entertained and help them learn science. This was a completely new skill for me and I managed to use all the tips such as making eye contact with the audience to be a great presenter for our group!

I’m so excited for my future as a science ambassador and teaching younger students experiments about space. This will allow me to share my love of science with them! The day at the observatory was a day to remember. I have learnt so much and I’m looking forward to sharing this with others.

 

 

 

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