Our Science department hosted another of its JEMS (Juniors In Engineering, Maths and Science) events last Thursday 6th February. Almost ninety Year 5 children joined us from ten Oxfordshire schools, carrying out a series of experiments ranging from physics to chemistry and construction.
Unstoppable OHS Biology teacher Maria Whittington, who coordinates the JEMS sessions, said, ‘Children of all ages love learning together, and science is the perfect practical subject to get them busily sharing experiences, discussing technical ideas and thinking creatively and mathematically about the world around them – and, of course, making new friends.’
Ms Whittington’s splendid work epitomises the sentiment shared across the school of wanting to expand our outreach work, sharing our facilities and encouraging more schools to participate. On this occasion, we invited New Marston, Cutteslowe, Botley, Wood Farm, St Nicholas’, John Fisher, Tynedale (all from Oxford) and Langford Primary (Bicester) and Dr South’s Primary (Islip).
Experiments conducted last Thursday included ‘meteor dropping’ into trays of sand and measuring crater diameters. Led by their Year 8 helpers – who behaved impeccably well – pupils from the different schools gathered around tables in the Main Hall and worked together to complete various challenges.
Another task encouraged students to create a tower using paper sheets, with many rolling them up into cylinders or prisms in clever attempts to strengthen the structures. Such experiences provide valuable insight into engineering as well as science and maths, with clear vocational pathways.
This builds on the work done in our previous JEMS morning, when we were joined by Beard construction, who inspired students with their first-hand tales of working on high-value projects such as our very own Ada Benson Building. Who knows what seeds of curiosity and scientific learning will have been sown by such encounters? Only time will tell.