I was awarded a senior teacher fellowship so I could deliver my workshops Fabulous Friction, Incredible Investigations and Super Sound to local primary schools in and around Colyton Grammar School in rural Devon. I have delivered sessions to well over 700 Year 4 and 5 pupils with support from sixth form ambassadors. Approximately 25 per cent of the pupils receive Free School Meals or are on Pupil Premium.
During the Fabulous Friction workshop, I introduce the concepts of friction and balanced and unbalanced forces. The workshops are very interactive and include a tug-of-war with interleaved books, pulling students on a skateboard using an oversized newton meter, and a ride-on leaf-blower hovercraft! The session ends with the pupils making and testing their own balloon hovercraft.
In Incredible Investigations, the pupils make their own newton meters using pipes and elastic bands. We discuss what makes a good scientific investigation and they then put their knowledge to the test using their newton meters to launch a toy car with a controlled force on three different surfaces. The Super Sound workshop has been delivered to Year 4 pupils who have been investigating what causes sounds by making screaming balloons and sound sandwiches. The emphasis in all sessions has been to give pupils a fun, hands-on and intuitive appreciation of physics.
After the first workshop sessions, the schools completed more investigations; the Year 5 pupils then presented their findings to me when I returned for a concluding visit.
The schools all came together at the Colyton Science Fair, where approximately 90 Year 5 pupils from the eight primary schools that we visited were invited to present their investigations. Their parents were also invited to participate in the day. At the science fair, the 27 groups presented their investigation in our school hall. When the groups were not being judged, they were able to enjoy hands-on physics activities being run by our sixth form science ambassadors.
On the day, Dr Alison Rivett, the Ogden Trust South West Regional Representative, gave an inspiring talk about routes into STEM. This was followed by a lesson in a lab for the pupils, where they learned about density and its link with buoyancy through a series of practical activities. To conclude the day, prizes were awarded to the winning teams.
Teacher Fellowship 18/19
Head of Physics Colyton Grammar School Senior