Everyone at Churchend has been busy organising their second visits to local green spaces to run surveys and make products to address identified problems in the environment, as part of school wide science activity, which will also be accessible by parents.
In February, Year 6 visited the Green Park Wind Turbine to learn how to generate green energy as well as to compare their own wormeries to the industrial wormery installed on the Green Park Business Park. Year 6 returned to school full of enthusiasm. This led to further science lessons about the generation of electricity using wind. In addition, the Year 6 teacher extended the worm investigation, asking her class to plan and execute experiments to understand how sensitive worms are to different environmental conditions. After half term, the Year 6 class will be building their own wind turbines to demonstrate the basic principles of electricity generation.
Year 5 have been busy with two aspects of their project. Year 5 visited and mapped Lousehill Copse, with the help of parents. On their return, one class completed child friendly walking maps for Lousehill Copse while the other class began to learn how to design and build websites; to present our survey data and other wonderful work.
Increasingly, parents are involved with all ECOMAD activities at Churchend. The school actively promoted the RSPB Big Garden Bird Survey (24/25 January) and encouraged pupils and parents to email in their photographs and data for the school website. We had a fantastic response with children from all years not only submitting photos and data but also full reports. In addition, parents of children in Year 5 eagerly joined the visit to Lousehill Copse to photo map and understand the environment. This meant that we were able to have much smaller groups consequently giving children more opportunities to ask questions. Finally, pupils and parents were encouraged to volunteer to help the Tilehurst Globe plant snowdrops in a green space close to school on Saturday, February 14. Again, this event was well attended, making light work of the planting exercise.
This month saw the online publication of two teacher training videos, produced by Twig World. One featured Mr Allen talking about how to teach the life cycle of plants while the other featured Mr Allen and Churchend pupils participating in a Bug Hunt with the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL). These videos are accessible through the reachoutcpd.com training website, which is already being used by over 3000 teachers and is accessible globally.
We have repeated a pupil survey, to determine the perceptions of pupils towards science. The baseline was established in July 2014. However, in the short time of the project there has been a significant positive change to the percentage of children who believe science is important and now view science as one of their more favoured subjects. We are also gathering comments from children, using video, to illustrate the change in perceptions.