Insights | Inspiring passion to learn through theme weeks

Subject-based events are a wonderful way to promote engagement and a love of learning among all involved. Education is not just about the knowledge acquired, but also the experience and moments in a student’s education that shape them and develop their sense of curiosity. Science week is a perfect example of this ethos and the direction we as a team strive to take. Science is not just about theoretical ideas and using big words to impress people. Science is a practical subject with branches in every known industry. Science is about investigation and doing things for yourself. Science is about wonder and excitement.

Have you ever seen a liquid magically change from one colour to another? Have you ever experienced the sight of a fireball shooting from a harmless looking powder? Why not? Students spend a lot of time learning about the science behind these experiments, but do not usually have a chance to experience them firsthand. We as a team developed science week so that all students in Wellington College Hangzhou could experience the amazing world of science. We have each crafted a science show to explain to students why we fell in love with the subject. This was not your usual little fizz and watching a video of a dissection on a screen; this was a large bang and Miss. Wood cutting up a fresh organ.

Science week will never be the same again.

Last week, Executive Master Paul Rogers enlisted the help of the students of Wellington College Hangzhou to investigate an incident that took place involving his car. C.S.I. Hangzhou was born; students set their scientific minds on the case. Someone crashed into Mr. Rogers’s car, leaving a large mark on the back bumper, but the culprit vanished from the scene. Left at the crime scene were four pieces of evidence. Since there was no CCTV pointing at the car when the incident took place, the students had to use these pieces of evidence, along with a list of suspects, to find the one that damaged Mr. Rogers’ car.

First, students used a scientific technique known as chromatography to compare paint found at the scene with paint samples from the suspects’ cars. The ones that matched led us closer to the fleeing culprit. This technique relied on students’ patience and coordination skills to make sure the results cast no shadow of a doubt on the matching paints.
Secondly, students needed to use their keen eyes for details to match a fingerprint carelessly left behind at the scene to fingerprints taken from the five suspects. This challenging task would further support claims that one of these five had completed the daring crime.Hair! Everybody has it, but this fleeing culprit had a bit less since some hair was found lying on the ground near the crash. Students used high-powered pictures to match hair samples taken from the suspects with the ones found at the scene.

Not only did this culprit crash into Mr. Rogers’s car, but they also littered. A piece of freshly-chewed gum was found at the scene and C.S.I Hangzhou’s crime lab managed to extract a DNA profile of the culprit. Students then used this DNA profile to match it with DNA profiles taken from suspect.

After the hard work and dedication of the students at Wellington College Hangzhou, the culprit was discovered to be Katy Piper. The evidence collected was handed over to the appropriate management team who will decide her fate.

Not only did students take part in the car crash investigation, but they were also invited to take part in science taster sessions. Three amazing science shows took place to show them the fantastic worlds of biology, chemistry and physics.

The combustible chemistry show gave students the opportunity to see the explosive power of chemistry, the ways we can control fire and included an exciting finale on how hydrogen could fuel the world.

The brain-buzzing biology show gave students the opportunity to get hands-on and discover for themselves the ways organs work together by using real organs themselves. Watching this show made me glad I chose to be a chemistry teacher; however, for some students, they may have discovered their true medical passions.

The fantastic physics show sent a buzz around the school with its electrifying performance and magic-like abilities. Ice cream has never been colder than when students used liquid nitrogen to produce -198oC ice cream.

Students also took part in many other amazing competitions over the week. The exciting paper aeroplane competition took off with winners from all over Wellington College Hangzhou. The older students of the school took to changing the world by inventing their own planet-saving devices. Students had to consider cost and the feasibility of their plans. This type of challenge prepares students for the ever-changing world. The students that graduate from Wellington College Hangzhou will be world leaders and the people we will look up to in the not so distant future.

Thank you very much to everybody who worked hard all week to make this a successful science week. Science week was an exciting and thrilling experience to be part of and we have set the bar high for science weeks across Hangzhou. We are looking forward to next year when we can make it even bigger.