Inspiring young scientists
Published: 21 January 2020
Last year we visited the Avonmore Phiz Lab, which was officially opened in April 2019, to get a taste of their school science. Developed with Ogden funding, the Lab is now a valuable learning space at the heart of the Kensington West Primary Partnership; it is a purposeful learning environment where pupils feed their curiosities and are inspired to become the scientists of tomorrow.
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Dan Brown, Deputy Head at the school and partnership co-ordinator, is an enthusiastic advocate for primary science, he explains more about how they set up their Phiz Lab and their plans to use their young scientists to help drive science at the school.
“The Phiz Lab is such an inspiration for the children to want to learn more about science. Having a specific place to focus on the subject has had such an impact on the children. They are desperate to spend time in the Lab, whether that be during lessons or in extra-curricular time.
“We purposefully wanted to ensure that it felt like ‘their’ space and so all the walls are decorated with their work. Whenever anyone visits the Phiz Lab, the first thing they always comment on is how impressive the children’s work is!
“Teachers love teaching in the Lab and having the resources nearby. We are even making plans to enable the children to assist the teachers in prepping the resources for lessons by making the resource cupboard as clear and accessible as possible.
“Even though we are only in the second year of our partnership, we are already thinking about future sustainability. As part of our longer term planning, we are developing a partnership-wide science ambassador programme. Year 5 and 6 pupils who want to be ambassadors will need to present an independent project and give a speech to staff and students explaining why they want to be involved. The successful pupils will then be trained in science busking so they can help support science across the schools.
“The partnership will be working with an external provider (Steamworks) for the initial ambassador training. Going forward, at the end of each year the outgoing Year 6 ambassadors will train a new team of Year 4s ready for the next year, meaning we have a sustainable model.
“Having the Phiz Lab is helping us to make science feel like the most pupil-led subject that we teach, which is exactly what science should be.”