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Science is becoming more and more important as a subject as children learn and grow and need more transferable skills. The ability to evaluate evidence will also allow pupils to be discerning about other aspects of their life. They will develop (hopefully) the realisation that sometimes we do not have enough facts and evidence to make an informed decision about a situation and that
they may need to dig for more information. Science will also teach them not to take things at face value, but to analyse the underlying implications and come to their own decisions. Carron Cookson, Head of Science at Edge Grove School, Hertfordshire, re ects...
The discussion and practical side of lessons allows children to learn social skills such as sharing and taking turns. They also
have an opportunity to develop communication skills and are able to present their ideas in a safe medium, as well as listen to the views of others. When this is executed well, pupils will take others ideas and build and develop them further; as well as amend and adapt their own viewpoints.
As children grow as people
they will need to have understanding of how the planet is interconnected and science is a big part of that recognition. They have a responsibility to ensure that future generations are able to enjoy the landscape that we have now, as well as protecting species that are threatened due to human intervention.
This is also needed for a child’s future development as environmental / science issues are becoming more political each election phase. To have a full understanding about who they will be voting for in the future, they need to fully
understand the bigger picture and global implications. This in not just limited to environmental issues and climate change,
but also genetic modi cation
of crops / animals (possibly humans); lifestyles they could be leading with the developments of AI (Arti cial Intelligence); space travel and the eventual colonisation of other planets.
At our school we noticed that Major Tim Peakes’ ISS mission
in particular has resulted in the children’s interest in growing crops in space.
Popularity
Science is a popular subject
at a junior level. Children are born with a wonder about the world and a curiosity to  nd out about it. In science lessons they are greeted with phenomena that they are already familiar with and given an opportunity to  nd out why they occur. At the younger ages, children are encouraged to explore and just  nd out what is happening. By its nature science suits children as it allows them freedom to move around classrooms and to take their learning outside. They
are actively encouraged to discuss for a purpose and can learn from each other.
As pupils get older they start
to see science as more dif cult and unless they have been taught resilience and a ‘can
do attitude’, they can have a tendency to switch off. This is not helped by the enormous amount of information that they are expected to understand and be able to evaluate as well as synthesise. As the concepts build on from each other they become more complex in the early part
of secondary. Because teachers can be more focused on the outcome of exams, the awe and wonder can get forgotten as they approach public exams, which is unfortunate.
Increasing engagement
Practical hands on activities will help to increase engagement in science at all levels. The more opportunities children have to observe concepts and to learn
for themselves, the stronger connections and links they will make. The pressure of exam requirements means that teachers
it at the November  nals of the iGEM competition in Boston.
More details at http://2017.igem. org/Team:CLSB-UK.
Increasing pupil eng
Focus o
New way to diagnose cancer
A team of 17-year old boys at the City of London School are working on a novel technique to diagnose cancer easily, cheaply and at a curable stage.
CLS is taking part in iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) – a synthetic biology competition – where teams work to create a genetically engineered system to tackle a real world problem. This year the CLS team’s project is about cancer diagnostics. It involves detecting particular molecules found in
body  uids, which can help to diagnose an individual with a variety of different types of cancer, at a pre-symptomatic stage. They estimate that each test would cost
less than £5, and could be used as a potentially lifesaving screening technique.
City of London School was the  rst British high school to enter the prestigious iGEM competition last year – when they won a silver medal. This year they are one of only two British school entrants. IGEM is a worldwide competition, with over 250 teams entering last year, mainly consisting of under- and postgraduate teams. This year, the CLS team is taking a multi- disciplinary approach incorporating Biology, Mathematics, Economics and Philosophy pupils, while aiming to win the high school competition and for a gold medal overall.
The boys are currently carrying out experiments to create and test their genetically engineered system, and are aiming to present
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