Science in Primary
The Primary Science curriculum gives vast opportunities to explore both the theoretical as well as the practical. During the period of online learning, each year level took on the challenges of distance learning and presented the students with a mixture of theory and practice. Whilst doing experiments, especially when it involves mess, is great fun, we have worked hard to ensure that the structure also involves predicting, hypothesising, reflecting, as well as explaining why something did or did not proceed as expected. Some of the highlights across the Primary Division include:
Preparatory, with the help of Mr Kean and Mr Hemphill, made snowballs. I believe there may have even been a snowball fight in Mr Kean’s office. They also did some great experiments with oil, water, antacid and food colouring, which resulted in a magical looking lava lamp occurring. It was great to listen to the students’ predictions. Year 1 have had two terms worth of Science focussing on light, where they explored different types of light and objects which light could travel through. They also looked at sound. This was a great unit to do at home as they could make as much noise as they wanted, exploring the different sounds that the objects around the house made. Year 2 also completed plenty of hands on discovery learning. However, one of my favourite science experiments happened this week where the student made slime. I bet this was an experience that mums, and dads were happy to have happen at school.
The Year 3 focus was on light, shadows and the exploration of a rotating Earth, which results in night and day. Fortunately, we had plenty of sunny weather, which meant that the students were able to measure where the sun was at each part of the day, as well as the shadow length on an object at different parts of the day. Year 4 explored Gravity and Friction where students took on personal projects to demonstrate their understanding. There were some really cool lego machines with motors made. Year 5 made their own explosions using soft drink and mentos (just a little mess occurred) accompanied by a great deal of laughter and excitement. Year 6 students explored micro organisms and how they grow. Mould was an interesting offshoot and discussions evolved about things that live under our beds or in the bottom of our school bags.
These are just a few of the amazing experiences shared during online learning. In completing our experiments, students learnt how to write a procedure, method and conclusion. I know that in many year levels, students also created their own experiments at home to either prove or disprove a hypothesis. Thank you to parents and carers for helping to resource, supervise and support science learning.
The discussions which occurred in break out rooms involving our young scientists were full of Scientific vocabulary as our students learnt that anyone could be a Scientist.
Cameron Reed | Dean of Studies, Primary
Science in Secondary: Simulating Practical Aspects of Science Through Online Platforms
The capacity to conduct experiments is key to learning, especially in the sciences at AISHK. However, conducting an experiment can often be challenging, at best, for students to do at home during periods of remote learning. This is especially true for the Senior Sciences (HSC and IB Biology, Chemistry and Physics). The role of physical experiments is often considered to be essential for several reasons. These included the need to have hands on experience of setting up experimental equipment, troubleshooting unexpected events, observing in real time very conceptual processes, obtaining qualitative and quantitative data, and handling experimental uncertainties.
The use of recorded experiments with teacher commentaries and online simulators can replace physical experimentation for some topics of study, but in most areas the engagement of students with physical experiments is expected as components of the learning process in Science. Thus, using online simulators of experiments allows students to better understand design procedures, practical restrictions and the trade-offs necessary to observe a theoretical process in action.
The remote laboratory concept provides a means to sustain a learner-centric teaching approach as experiments can be available all the time. In this sense, both physical investigation and simulation can contribute to Science education and be integrated on the same computer-based platform. During the online learning period, the AISHK Science Department has endeavoured to provide remote access to experiments that can allow students to access experiments without time and location restrictions, providing the necessary guidance required to further develop their understanding of the concepts under study.
Lee Taylor | Head of Science, Secondary