A Giant Science Partnership

Over two days, the Science and DT Departments collaborated to run an outdoor science event designed to catch the eye and spark the imagination of pupils in Key Stage 2 and 3. The idea was to supersize experiments and demonstrations to increase the impact of the science, capture the imagination, stimulate creativity and get pupils thinking.

On each morning, Wycombe Abbey pupils in UIII (day 1) and in LIV (day 2) enjoyed the experiments and demonstrations for themselves, moving around the three areas of Chemistry, Biology and Physics/DT, as instructed. In the afternoon, the same Wycombe Abbey pupils were put into pairs and allocated a small group of visiting primary school children in years 3 and 4. The Wycombe Abbey girls then escorted the younger pupils around the demonstrations, explaining the science and helping them to get involved and experience all that was on offer. About 250 pupils from eight local primary schools took part in this event over the two days.

The Chemistry area could be heard at some distance, with large-scale experiments such as “elephants’ toothpaste” shooting up into the trees, eliciting excited reactions from the pupils. Giant bubbles made by the visiting Bubble Wizard, illustrated the spectrum of colours as they floated over the heads of the pupils. Some were so big that they could form a dome over six children at a time for a truly immersive experience.

The Physics and Design Technology area contained a huge range of large-scale, hands-on activities, including giant sound reflectors for whispering messages over long distances, giant foam building blocks that could be assembled into an arch bridge, with careful collaboration and teamwork. A giant piano could be played by running up and down on the keys and a supersized chaotic pendulum was a captivating spectacle. An opportunity for perspective photography produced some delightfully misleading images of people who appeared to have shrunk. The giant periscope and giant kaleidoscope gave pupils some challenges to find out how they worked and these optical demonstrations were complimented by the most enormous spherical fish bowl of water which produced some beautiful and entertaining images of near and distant objects.

In the Biology area, a life-size model of a giant lily pad was on display by the lake alongside the visiting birds of prey, accompanied by their expert handler. Pupils were enthralled by the range of birds, the biggest of which was a very imposing but rather nervous owl who turned out to be scared of the giant bubbles. Pupils were allowed to hold the birds and this close interaction ignited their interest and many questions were fired at the handler throughout the day by fascinated pupils.

After the event, the Deputy Head of Castlefield Primary School said, ‘We have greatly benefited from participating in Giant Science workshops; our pupils have experienced the beautiful grounds and fabulous facilities of Wycombe Abbey, and the generosity of staff and pupils alike.’

Mrs Sue Buxton
Director of Science and STEM

Find out more about our partnership work

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