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Workshop Four

‘Getting Girls into Science’ – Presentation Afternoon

Friday 19th July 2013 – HWGA

‘Getting Girls into Science’ has certainly done ‘what it says on the tin’ as the 24 students from St James C of E Primary and Heathfield Primary schools were confident in their conviction that Science was something they definitely wanted to study and possibly make a career of where their futures were concerned. As the students returned to their schools they were asking if they could come in next year and do some more!

This rewarding attitude is a result of a series of workshops that have spun an academic year and have taken place mostly at Handsworth Wood Girls’ Academy with the exception of a brilliant afternoon at Aston University. The students from Year Five got to study Science from Key Stage Three up to degree level and they adapted so well to the different modes of study because they were so engaged with learning that was fun and that gave them such a taste for Science. Every time we all met up to participate in the workshops that were carefully planned by Karen Hurst, Rob Williams and Lewis Graham the students were immediately engaged with the experiments.

What the workshops gave these students was the opportunity to experiment and experience real, live Science in a well-equipped and functional laboratory where they could see results and discuss outcomes and see Chemistry, Physics and Biology in an amazingly fun context. At nine or ten years of age a student doesn’t expect to make bottle rockets using different chemical accelerants or create a Vortex cannon and see Physics in motion. As well as this they do not expect to create non-Newtonian liquids that they can pinch and pull and pour and stir nor do they expect to be able to extract the DNA of a Kiwi fruit in a fully-functioning university environment! Except, they did! These students were simply stunning in their attitude to learning, they never once faltered or got bored, they were instead focused and thriving on the opportunities afforded to them.

bottle rocket    bottle rocket 2

In our final workshop our students got to revisit their well-favoured Bottle rockets extravaganza launching several rockets into the air on the academy’s back field. The hot sunshine and breezy trees framed the workshop very nicely and formed an idyllic picture and one that is very much sought after of children learning and enjoying learning at the same time. Following the bottle rockets the students got to blow bubbles and then create their own bubble mixtures by experimenting with glycerine, detergent and water; it was like a scene from Charlie and the Chocolate factory with the air filled with bubbles that bounced with elasticity and reflected happy smiles and cheers for a successful solution!

bottle rocket 3  bottle rocket 4

We thanked our students with a certificate and a science book because they were all simply amazing for taking part in this project and without them it would not have ever taken off. However a project that I thought would challenge me as a professional certainly challenged all involved and we made it from the conception of the plan in September 2012 to a very successful fruition in July 2013.

Moreover such success should not be left in a report to be archived one day but it should be embraced and used again, so next year as part of my role in Transition I will be heading a new ‘Getting Girls into Science’ project in Science and Engineering. I am pleased to say that we will have more of our feeder primary schools involved and we will be involving more staff and more HWGA students and hopefully creating our own form of transport. So, to end as I have done before, thank you to everyone involved and for now, watch this space!

To see more photographs taken on the day click HERE

Thank you to: Mr L Graham, Mr R Williams, Mrs K Hurst, Nicky Walters & SLT, Dr S Russell, Mr M Rashid, Miss J Hanson, Miss Y Langstone, Mr P Frowen, Miss Woods and the students from St James and Heathfield Primary schools and our HWGA students that helped out from September to July.

Miss S Beech Head of Student Progress – Year Seven– July 2013

A full report on the Getting Girls Into Science Project can be downloaded here: