Science Week at Northampton High

The theme of Science Week this year is growth.  Seems a sensible topic as Biology is all about growth and there are many aspects that the wonderful Science faculty could deliver lessons about.   

I wanted to take this a bit further and extend past the ordinary simple definition and grow our Science Week.  This year we have seen Year 7 take on engineering challenges to grow the tallest/strongest tower; Year 8 and 9 have grown their ideas about careers in STEM and found some jobs they didn’t know existed.  Year 11 and some Sixth Formers were treated to a truly inspirational talk from Dr Emily Grossman about her career in science and the performing arts, and how her personal and professional growth has led to her being able to marry her two passions of performing and science as a Science Communicator.  I think I can speak for everyone when I say we were captivated and motivated by Dr Grossman and look forward to welcoming her to school in the future.   

Years 1 to 4 had a workshop with Grace Webb, from CBeebies’ Grace’s Amazing Machines, where they learned about forces and motion.  What is this to do with growth Mrs H-T?   

Well, I saw them all grow and refine their teamwork skills alongside their growing interest in a career in mini moto racing.  We have also experienced gastronomic growth in the canteen on Wednesday at lunchtime when we had the opportunity to make some dessert topping from alginate balls made from apple juice.  Move over Heston, here come the High School students! On Friday, we welcomed Dr Sharon Brookes, Lead Scientist for Animal and Zoonotic Viral Diseases at APHA, who gave a fascinating talk on career growth in STEM-based subjects.   

The topic of growth can be defined in many ways and the meaning according to the dictionary I found online is “the process of increasing in size”; this often makes me wonder how many times we grow in a day.  Do we just grow in the physical sense until we hit 16 years old, or do we grow daily?  As a good biologist will tell you, as you read this your cells are both dying and reproducing simultaneously, so an aspect of you is always growing.   

Can we explain growth in any other ways?  In my assembly this week to both Senior and Junior pupils, I talked about mindset and use words to encourage a growth mindset.  In school today we face many tasks that are challenging, and if we approach them with a ‘can do’ attitude, we may, in fact, be able to achieve a lot more. 

I also spoke about lifelong learning, and I included this in the theme of growth as I feel that even though I have the relevant qualifications to do my job, I always treat every day as a learning day.  I feel utterly privileged to work with young people on a daily basis and remind myself that we are always learning from each other.  Only recently I have learned how to make a reel on Instagram by listening to the Year 10 students make their videos in class, showing the growth of global climate change.  Sadly, yet another form of growth we have discussed this week. 

Science Week kicked off last week with a wonderful assembly led by Mrs Vizor and the Year 12 Physics class about the growth of the universe.  Mrs Vizor made an exceptionally difficult concept seem very straightforward and left me wondering why I found the thought of Physics A Level such an awful concept when I was making my choices at age 16.  Maybe I should have been taught about a growth mindset when I was at school and I might have tried Physics rather than Biology which I perceived to be easier. It wasn’t. Little tip for you: all A Levels are hard if you don’t work at them.  I clearly hadn’t grown my “able to work independently” skills enough for my first year of A Levels, but we got there in the end. 

So, this week I have been reminded about the growth that I see every day around me.  Students growing their academic ability alongside their personal growth. Everywhere I have looked this week I have found an aspect of growth and growing, from the new bulbs springing into life, to students growing in confidence in their own abilities.  I think everyone should take a few minutes each day to either appreciate the growth around them or try something to grow their minds.   

I always remember a quote I heard from one of my most inspirational teachers, “growing old is inevitable growing up is optional”.