Our Science Projects

In Autumn 21, we were awarded the ‘Primary Science Quality Mark’ in recognition of our school’s commitment of endeavour to achieve high quality science teaching and learning throughout the school.  Feedback received noted that our vision ‘Excite, Challenge and Question – Loving Science for life’ was evident throughout the whole submission, with children benefitting from a variety of teaching strategies, including exploratory learning and a huge amount of enrichment activities that had been planned over the year, despite the challenges we faced with Covid. Well done to everybody at Grimley, both children and staff, for being a huge part of our success story.

From Autumn 21, we joined together with 5 other local primaries and 4 local secondary schools to form an Ogden Trust Partnership.  This partnership, funded by the Ogden Trust, helps to support all teachers to improve the quality of physics teaching in our schools through quality CPD, additional resources and support from experts and the within the partnership.  Working with the Ogden Trust partnership we intend to raise the profile of physics in our schools and bring families back into the classroom, when the time is right, after the restrictions we all faced with Covid.  We also intend to use the partnership to help the children transition between phases.

In Autumn 21 we received a Grant from the Royal Society to help us investigate what levels of biodiversity we can sample and identify in and around our school grounds?  We are working with an expert team of STEM Ambassadors and experts in the field of ecology to help us throughout the year map and survey the land parcel adjacent to our school.  We will use this baseline survey to help us in the future try to increase the richness of the land’s biodiversity.  Some of the sampling methods will include the children looking for visual signs, using camera traps, and footprint tunnels and they will also learn from the experts from a local bird and bat group. 

The initial part of the project involves:

  • Developing a method for valuing the habitats and species found and use this to survey the land parcel and award a numerical value for its biodiversity. This will provide a means for measuring any improvement resulting from further initiatives that we will implement.
  • With the support of the local Bat Group, undertake fixed and mobile monitoring to survey and identify bat species in our area and analyse the data collected.
  • Survey and identify mammals using visual observations of signs, camera traps, footprint tunnels and small mammal live trappings.
  • Identify and survey bird species using ID books, binoculars and a parabolic microphone. With support from the local ringing group, we will hold bird ringing demonstrations and monitor bird boxes with the aim of ringing the chicks.
  • We will carry out a variety of secondary research and use expert ecologists, to identify what makes the site attractive to wildlife and investigate ways this can be improved further. We will regularly monitor the site and apply our habitat valuation scale to evaluate the impact of any of our actions on increasing biodiversity in our site for example through creating insect hotels, bird nest boxes, hedgehog houses and log piles for amphibians.

 

The second part of the project involves stewardship, maintenance and increasing the accessibility of the work within community projects and the primary curriculum.

This will involve:

  • Accessibility, walkways and storage/waste facilities: matched funding will be sought and arranged through the school council and Mantle of the Expert projects so that children can drive the ethos and environmental concerns that define and purpose of the site, with a view of education in environmental stewardship
  • Development of hides and covered zones for observation. Storage, waste and viewing facilities will be constructed to ensure seasonal access. In addition, a minimal system of access paths will be constructed, developed from complimentary and environmentally appropriate materials
  • Comparison of local landuse practices with the relatively untouched areas around school. Children will be able to assess farming practices, aggregate extraction, land reclamation and forestry practices in the locale as a means of assessing human impact on our local landscape

Each year, a group of children will complete environmental recording in order to assess the impact and success of a variety of human and natural processes on the landscape- this will provide a legacy of information for subsequent classes, at Grimley, surrounding schools and the local community.

The school is in its second year of taking part in ‘Farmer Time’.  This is an excellent initiative which brings farming into the classrooms and children get a fortnightly session with a farmer to ask questions and learn about and understand the work of a farmer.  This year we have been linked with Farmer Lorna, who is a dairy farmer from Devon.  The children really enjoy these sessions and are learning so much about dairy farming as she answers the children’s questions.

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