Between 28th February and 4th March, Wellington College celebrated its annual Science week, which links to the Science and Engineering week in the United Kingdom. The purpose of this week is for Wellington pupils to engage with Science outside the confines of the standard lesson. Following the success of last year, Wellington science teachers organised a vast variety of activities for the pupils, from extracting their own DNA to created wearable jewelry with a vial of their DNA, frog and worm dissections, to witnessing a liquid nitrogen show where a banana was turned into a hammer!
During Science Week, Wellington College was proud to open its latest classroom addition – the Data Logging Centre. This exciting new science laboratory contains the newest and most precise equipment available, which enables the collection of scientific data in real-time, through the use of wireless linked sensors to mobile computer systems. This laboratory aims to stretch pupils’ horizons in science as it will enable pupils to record data at tiny fractions of a second, previously not possible in a standard school laboratory, as well as monitor experiments over days and weeks. The ability to record data on a mobile computer pad will allow pupils to design and create experiments both inside and outside the classroom. Furthermore, it will support cross-curriculum projects between subjects such as geography, PE and technology.
Pupils spend a huge amount of time studying science – between 3 and 6 hours a week – every year they are at school. So why is it so important to dedicate so much time? Having been a professional research scientist I am biased; however, even if pupils do not intend on pursuing a scientific career, it is of the upmost importance to have studied science. An education in science provides a plethora of knowledge and skills vital for the 21st Century, and the global market. The skills learnt though science such as critical, analytical and creative thinking as well as communication and team work are essential for any pupil to be successful in any industry or career. In fact the term career is becoming less and less appropriate as with the modern global economy there is a need for highly educated, skilled workforce that is flexible and can adapt to a rapidly changing world.
We believe in the holistic approach to education, where pupils not only achieve academic success in discrete exam based subjects, but also develop into well rounded global citizens ready to face the challenges of the 21st century. Science provides a skill set and knowledge that is intrinsic to this philosophy. The holistic education system of the College is based around the Wellington Aptitudes and our approach to science promotes this. Science develops linguistic abilities through effective communication and this was shown through Year 9 Science challenge where pupils designed, carried out and presented their findings to their peers and staff body. Pupils develop their logical aptitude through the study of the scientific method and a practical approach to science, which is strongly promoted at Wellington. Pupils enhance their personal and social skills as science instills a sense of responsibility as we all share this fragile planet and we are each responsible for it. The cultural aptitude may not seem to fit with science; however, science can be considered an art in many forms. Science by nature is an innovative subject and without a creative approach innovation ceases to exist. This is why emphasis is placed on creating pupils who can critically think and can produce innovative approaches to problem solving. The physical aptitude links strongly with physical education; however, to lead a healthy life style pupils need to be aware of issues of health and disease, which are inherent in the learning of biology. The moral aptitude is developed as the Wellington model of education encourages pupils to make correct decisions in life based on knowledge of the world and the skills we instill in our pupils. This brings me onto the last aptitude, spiritual, an aptitude that does not seem to link with science. On the contrary by studying science, students become aware of their own environment, ideas that have shaped our civilisation and the nature of the world we live in.
The study of science aims to enable all pupils to achieve, succeed and thrive in an invigorating and challenging environment. This approach produces pupils with the toolkit to succeed not only in scientific fields, but in all walks of life. Science week is a celebration of this and what we can achieve when we put our minds to it.
Dr Charles M. Debieux
Head of Biology & IB Theory of Knowledge Coordinator