Science as a second specialism for the school celebrates students’ success in this area and aims to promote excellent opportunities for young scientists both in and outside the classroom.
Science is part of the core national curriculum and over the last few years, Great Baddow High School have achieved exam results in the sciences over and above the national average.
British Science Week 2019
Entries for the Science Week competition demonstrated, lots of creativity and superb scientific content. Highlights included 'Why our body has bones', 'Science behind slugs' and a video exploring the possibility of life on Mars.
The tutor time activities got the students thinking about a whole range of scientific ideas, with some healthy competition in the quizzes. Primary school pupils and some of our Year 7 students had a great time with visiting science author John Townsend, learning about the science of some exotic animals and developing their creative writing skills. The week culminated with a large cohort of Year 10 students heading to Birmingham for the 'Big Bang' science fair which is inspirational and a great deal of fun.
PhysicsFest was a superb event which the school was delighted to host. Many members of staff contributed to its success, but Dr Ghoneim in particular, has led on this excellent initiative. Our own students and others from KEGS helped in different ways, including working on exhibits and demonstrations. The school fizzed in a frenzy of fantastic physics!
Biology Week took place from Monday 8th October to Friday 12th October.
Pupils took part in a range of activities including Anagram and Guess the Biologist Competitions. By far the most popular activity was our Dissection Workshop.
A number of pupils from Years 7-13 took part in an activity designed to raise interest in anatomy and the medical sciences.
The hour was informative, interesting and fun. Planning work has already begun for our upcoming Chemistry Week which takes place in November.
STEM Day - CSI Suspicious Blood
On Tuesday 10th July 2018 we hosted an event with ‘Thinkers in Education’, an organisation who lead competitive science activities to challenge and inspire students.
The theme for the day was ‘CSI: Suspicious Blood’, which is a blood analysis activity in which the students are trying to solve a crime based on the agglutination of blood cells in samples of fake blood. Our most able Year 8 scientists and Year 5 students from local primary schools took part throughout the day. They were given a range of samples from suspects and they had to run tests to determine which blood matched the sample from the crime scene. Groups were awarded points based on the accuracy of their findings, but also the speed at which they worked, so the students were under a lot of pressure at times, but they coped brilliantly. The teamwork and enthusiasm shown by all groups was superb, with a high level of scientific thinking demonstrated throughout. All the students thoroughly enjoyed the activity and hopefully it has inspired many of them to work towards a scientific career in the future.
Energy Quest Workshop
On Friday 6th July we hosted an Energy Quest Workshop session sponsored by ‘Tomorrow’s Engineers’.
Approximately one hundred and twenty Year 9 students had their eyes opened to the incredible range of opportunities in engineering.
The event involved an analysis of natural conditions and resources in different locations around the world, and a subsequent decision on which renewable energy resources would be most suitable for each location. This led to the topic of ‘greener’ energy and electric cars, after which each team had to piece together a model car that was powered by a capacitor. Groups experimented with different levels of charge in the capacitor, different axle arrangements and various streamlined designs in order to maximise the distance that the car would travel. Some worked well, others less so, but all students had a great hands-on engineering experience and came away more informed about renewable energy, capacitors and gears. Hopefully the experience has inspired more of our students to consider careers in engineering in the future.
On 21st June we hosted a ‘Faraday Challenge’, a science and engineering activity led by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Twenty-four of our ‘more able’ Year 8 students and twelve visiting students from Tabor Academy were divided into groups of six and were presented with the challenge of designing a new attraction for Thorpe Park. To add extra motivation, the teams were informed that the winner of the national competition would actually have their design built and installed at Thorpe Park.
They were given a brief which informed them about what they needed to include in their design, with a particular emphasis on making it a unique attraction which is accessible to all. Each group was given an equal amount of ‘Faradays’ (fake money) which they could use to buy products from the shop. The shopkeepers, Mr Blake and Mr Winford, the D&T technicians, were kept very busy throughout the session as teams bought all the kit they needed to build their prototype attraction. Prototypes included a working pressure pad which turned lights on and off as a ride passed over it and a shark with light-up eyes that jumped out at people on a ride.
The activity challenged the design capabilities of the students and also developed their practical ability and knowledge of electricity, as well as teamwork and social skills. The session was a lot of fun, and a team of GBHS students were the eventual winners, just two points away from being in the top five in the country.
UKROC Rocket Challenge 2018
GBHS students have spent the last few months designing and building their rockets at STEM club, assisted by our STEM mentors Andy Boyle and Bill Kett. The challenge was to launch a rocket to a height of approximately 800ft, at which point the nose cone (containing an egg) should separate from the back section, with both sections then returning to the ground safely by using parachutes.
Students have designed and built the rocket within the rules of the competition, which change every year to prevent previous winners just turning up and firing a competitive rocket. To this end they modelled the rockets using a CAD system taking into account such complex concepts as centre of gravity and centre of pressure, weight distribution and aerodynamics. Once the models were built with the kind permission of Writtle University College, and Stow Maries Aerodrome, the rockets were tested. Results were variable, ignition systems worked and target height was achieved but not all the parts came down in the right place or in one piece!
On Thursday 19th April we took two teams to the UKRoC regional competition at Stow Maries Aerodrome. The results of two testing sessions had been applied to the designs in the form of modifications which were highly technical and involved copious amounts of masking tape and bubble wrap.
Both our teams, as well as the vast majority of other schools, had issues with the ignition system. The rockets are launched by three motors which should all be set off at exactly the same time by the electronic ignition system. This only happened on a couple of occasions, so most of the rockets did not have enough thrust to reach the required height. In addition, the unevenly distributed thrust led to lots of rockets firing in different directions rather than straight up. Our students had to spend a lot of time in the workshop adapting their design and trying to make all the motors fire together, and they did manage a couple of good flights, but ultimately the technology went against us (and pretty much everyone else).
The most pleasing aspect of the day was the approach that our students had. They were not put off by the problems that they faced, they simply banded together and kept working hard to try to overcome the issues. Despite not qualifying for the next round, both teams enjoyed the day. They got to see a range of different rocket designs from other schools, and some spectacular crashes. The whole process has enabled them to increase their knowledge of physics and engineering, and I am sure they will return to the competition even stronger next year.
British Science Week - Poetry Competition
As part of our British Science Week celebrations, we held a poetry competition to enable students to demonstrate how inspired they are by science. Amongst the many entries were poems about space, chemicals, life, and a touching tribute to the late Stephen Hawking.
The quality of the entries was very high, and after an arduous judging process the winner was Sydney in Year 8. Very well done to all who entered, it was a pleasure reading your poems.
First Lego League Competition
A group of GBHS students entered 'The First Lego League' competition and were delighted to win a trophy (made of Lego!) for the 'Best Robot Design'.
The competion included a presentation, three rounds of robot demonstrations, a 'Core Values' assessment, with a grilling by three judges about how our team has worked together, how they've overcome difficulties etc and finally a 'Robot Design' assessment which included a Q&A session with three judges.
With students from Great Baddow High School, KEGs and New Hall School acting as explainers and demonstrators, Great Baddow High School, a Specialist Science College, welcomed the opportunity to host the annual event that encourages children of all ages to get hands on with Physics.
World Space Week 2017
As part of our World Space Week celebrations we held an inter-house model building competition. The brief was deliberately very vague, the only stipulation being that it couldn’t be a kit, it had to be something made from scratch. The decision to give so much creative freedom paid off, as a whole range of wonderful pieces were entered.
Throughout the week a stream of enthusiastic students arrived to hand in their entries, which included cakes, Lego models, aliens, space rockets, solar systems, a rocket that actually launched (well done Tom!), a black hole, and a box with lots of ‘space’ in it! The creativity and effort of our students was superb, and as a result the judging process was particularly difficult, but the final places are as follows:
1st place: Aimee (Year 8) with a wonderful Columbus space shuttle.
2nd place: Daisy (Year 8) with a lovely model of Saturn and its moon Titan, along with a rocket-ship fact sheet.
3rd place: Tom (Year 7) with a rocket that actually took off.
ELISA Testing with 'Thinkers in Education'
The activity for the day was ELISA testing, which is a scientific method used for detecting diseases. Our most able year 8 scientists and year 5 students from local primary schools took part throughout the day.
UKRoC Rocket Challenge 2017
On Monday 24th April we took two teams to the UKRoC regional competition at Stow Maries aerodrome. The students have spent the last few months designing and building their rockets at STEM club, assisted by our STEM mentors Andy and Bill.
Two teams from Great Baddow High School entered the Faraday Challenge this week, which is run nationwide by the Institute of Engineering and Technology.
They had to use problem-solving skills, creative thinking and practical ability to overcome engineering challenges. Our students showed great enthusiasm, teamwork and intelligence and came incredibly close to victory.
ARU Bridge Building Competition
Year 9 attend a Bridge Building competition at Anglia Ruskin University and finish in sixth place.
A group has been tasked with designing a shower and feeding facility for the elephants at Colchester Zoo. At the end of the project the school with the best design will actually have it made and installed at the zoo
Following a visit to Colchester Zoo to see the elephant enclosure and attend a briefing on the project, students are now looking at putting their design ideas together.
World Space Week Assemblies
In the week commencing Monday 3rd October Mr Butcher ran assemblies for all year groups to promote and celebrate World Space Week. The topic of the assemblies was ‘Life on other planets’. Students were amazed by the realisation of just how relatively small our solar system is within the Universe, and the potential for finding life elsewhere was a particularly exciting prospect. These assemblies linked in with the cross-curricular creative writing competition run by Mr Butcher, the Science Specialism coordinator, and Miss Orchard from the English department. Students wrote short stories based on ‘space’, using school library resources to ensure they include correct scientific information.
Congratulations to our World Space Week short story competition winners, Drew & Simon.
Seeds from Space at GBHS
Students at Great Baddow High School prepared to become space biologists and embark on a voyage of discovery by growing seeds that hadbeen into space.
In September, 2kg of rocket seeds were flown to the International Space Station (ISS) on Soyuz 44S where they spent several months in microgravity before returning to Earth last month. The seeds were sent as part of Rocket Science, an educational project launched by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and the UK Space Agency.
Great Baddow High School was one of the participating schools to receive a packet of 100 seeds from space, which were grown alongside seeds that hadn't been to space to measure the difference over six weeks.
The out-of-this-world, nationwide science experiment enabled the students to think more about how we could preserve human life on another planet in the future, what astronauts need to survive long-term missions in space and the difficulties surrounding growing fresh food in challenging climates.
The rocket seeds were sown after school by the science club members. Over six weeks the students were responsible for checking and watering the seedlings as well as taking measurements such as growth, leaf count and plant height at frequent intervals. These measurements were then put into a nationwide data base for analysis by RHS and the UK Space Agency.
Mr R Davis, Head of Year and Science teacher , says: “We were very excited to be taking part in Rocket Science. This experiment was a fantastic way of teaching our students to think more scientifically and share their findings with the whole school.”
Rocket Science was just one educational project from a programme developed by the UK Space Agency to celebrate British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission to the ISS and inspire young people to look into careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, including horticulture.
CSI style Forensic Science workshops
Great Baddow High School spent the day investigating blood splattered crime scenes in CSI style Forensic Science workshops designed to inspire budding scientists during British Science Week.
Organisation, Thinkers in Education, tailored the day’s activities for sessions with both the Year 8 students from Great Baddow High School as well as Year 5 pupils from Mildmay, Meadgate, Baddow Hall, Chancellor Park, Beehive Lane, Writtle and St Michael’s C of E Junior Schools.
“'CSI - Blood Work' is the first scheme to be hosted at Great Baddow High School. Pupils from the school, together with those visiting from local primary schools, truly impressed us with their problem solving and team working ability. Great Baddow High School Year 8 team Holmes were particularly outstanding in session 2 of the day, proving to excel in all areas - particularly conceptual modelling and result analysis. They smashed the world record for the event - previously held by a leading Australian school. It will certainly take some beating - and sets a new benchmark for the event.” Matt Hackett, Founder & Director, Thinkers in Education.
Science of Food
The Royal Institute of Science brought their one-man science show to the school and ran a series of fun and exciting demonstrations on the science of food.
Emma J King, the Science presenter from the Royal Institute of Science, was faced with a packed hall full of Year 7 and 8 students keen to get up on the stage and be involved in each of the exciting demonstrations.
‘I love doing these shows as every school is different and Great Baddow High School was super organized when I arrived. The whole thing is good fun and exciting and different all the time.” Emma J King, Royal Institute of Science.
The show aimed to show students the incredible amount of energy contained in the food that goes in their mouths and was kicked off with a screaming jelly baby that amazed students, when the energy from just one Jelly Baby created a massive fireball.
The demonstration formed part of a range of activities taking place at the school for British Science Week, including an evening of Stargazing with the North Essex Astronomical Society, a visit to the Big Bang Science Fair for some of their Year 9 students and a Forensic Science day, where budding scientists from local primary schools joined Year 8 students to undertake a CSI style suspicious blood analysis session.
STEM Family Challenge: September 2015
Great Baddow High School welcomed The EDT (Engineering Development Trust) into their school on Thursday 24th September to run a STEM Family Challenge, to show parents and students how interesting and rewarding a career within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) could be.
UK Aerospace Rocketry Challenge
Having reached the UK final in the UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry challenge last year, students were planning on ways to improve the performance of their rocket in this year’s challenge and made the most of their mentor from Ford to design and build their rocket.
Teams from Great Baddow placed 4th, 10th and 14th nationally with one team being awarded the best looking rocket. A great time and valuable experience was had by all and a massive well done to "The Ballistic Bananas": Leon, Luke and Toby (all year 12); "Thunderstorm": Robbie, Alex, Lauren, Josh, Mollie and Tye (all year 10) and "Apollo Year 13": Josh, Sam and Andrew.
Bridge Building Competition
GBHS students entered a bridge building competition supported by AECOM (internatiional engineering company with offices in Chelmsford). Students designed, built and tested a model bridge to span 780mm and be between 100 and 150mm wide.
There were a number of other constraints as the project was set by the Institute of Civil Engineers. Students finished building and were ready to compete against other schools on Tuesday 24th March at ARU.
Small Peice Trust
64 year 9 students attended a STEM day from the Smallpeice trust in PAH. In teams they designed and built a model water filtration system for a building. Lots was learnt about teamwork,how a project works in terms of finance and the design and build process.
Science Week goes off with a bang at GBHS
As a specialist science college, the sciences are popular subjects with many students at Great Baddow High School and National Science Week saw a wealth of activities taking place to excite and engage students of all ages.
The author John Townsend came and spoke to our Year 7 Science Classes, Students prepared to watch the Solar Eclipse and Yr 10 Science and Engineering students to the Big Bang science fair at the NEC
Further information on Science Week News
Science Poster Competition
The winning posters displayed accurate and interesting information alongside eye catching and aesthetically pleasing illustration. One particular student went to the great effort of creating a lunar landscape with a Great Baddow Astronaught placing a flag with the school emblem into the surface of the moon depicting the famous Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong moon walk.
|Year 7 Winner: Jordan Ashley||Year 8 Winner: Connor Preston|
|Runner-up: Jack Barry||Runner-up: Daniel Wise||Runner-up - Livi Sharp|
Big Bang Fair
E2V Higher Apprenticeships Information Event: March 2015
E2V, a leading global provider of technology solutions for high performance systems, visited 6th form physics & maths students interested in higher apprenticeships/
Maths & Science Master Class with Guest Speaker Johnny Ball
At the end of the Autumn term Great Baddow High School welcomed Johnny Ball, well known TV personality and mathematician who is renowned for presenting scientific principles in an entertaining and accessible way.
During the day, Year 10 & 11 students got the opportunity to see Johnny Ball in action with a lecture about how different science and maths are in the "real world" using examples such as sat nav and take part in a number of hands on experiments.
AS Physics Trip to Radiotherapy Department
On 25th November 2014, Year 12 physics students travelled by train to visit the Radiotherapy Department of University College London Hospital, Euston. The students saw many aspects of a busy radiotherapy department bringing medical applications of physics into context.
The Art of Science Show
The Specialist Science College was launched with ‘The Art of Science Show’ a fantastic demonstration of the beauty of science through art using lasers, rainbows, and bubbles with Dr Jasmine Pradissitto, from Pro Education Ltd and was followed with an opportunity for students to bring their parents to a special night-school class to re-experience a joint science lesson with their children.
To see more about The Art of Science show please watch the video of the The Art of Science Show.
A big thank you to members of the North Essex Astronomical Society (NEAS) for bringing along a range of telescopes. Students past and present came along with their families and it was great to have so many staff bring along their children to support this annual event. The distant display of an electrical storm was an unexpected addition to the evening!
NEAS member, Mr Law demonstrating the tracking for the alt-azimuth mounted Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.
A Day in a Secondary School
Every summer the science department along with other departments hold a day in a secondary school for our feeder primary schools. They enjoy doing practical's that they wouldn't be able to do at primary school and enjoy the independent learning it brings.