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News > News from the College > Bradfield celebrates British Science Week

Bradfield celebrates British Science Week

Bradfield Science Week was designed and inspired by the British Science Association’s national initiative of the same name. We wanted to use this opportunity for a public celebration of science at Bradfield to create a slipstream for scientific engagement within the College year-round and broaden the appeal of the Sciences. Accordingly, we planned the week to give all pupils a fun, low-intensity experience of science outside of the classroom and demonstrate the everyday value of the Sciences—fantastic opportunities for curiosity, creativity and problem-solving.

There were four different activity strands to the week to allow all pupils to experience at least one Science event, at least one point each day of that week, and in such a way that it did not add any additional burden or stress during a week of tests and coursework deadlines.

The first strand was the most formal and involved the morning assemblies of that week which were handed over to a brilliant pupil planning team of nine mainly L6th pupils, each of whom spoke about an aspect of science that they were curious about. Luella (J 12), Flora (J 12) and Grace (K 12) each spoke to the Faulkner’s about taste, smell and memory. Kevin (G 12) and Ned (A 12) spoke to the Shell and Fifth form about their hopes for further Space exploration whilst Emma (M 12) described how amazing she found hormones in the human body. The Sixth form assembly was unfortunately cancelled, but Tony (E 12) was going to speak about energy consumption in the brain, Jemma (I 12) the sense of smell and John (H 13) on the science of sexual attraction. Our loss.

The second, and most ambitious strand, involved taking Science into the main dining hall where we had small interactive activity stands that pupils could do on their way to and from meals, something I’ve been wishing to do for years. Each day involved some sort of competition.

On Monday, the Sports Science department allowed pupils to do a hand strength test and see how they compared to professional athletes - explaining how this is a proxy for various physical fitness attributes. Tuesday saw a Lego challenge where pupils could build a model of a solution for how to deliver aid to a war-locked country. Wednesday involved bringing Arduino circuit boards and Meccano kits in to give pupils a tiny taste of building a kit car and coding traffic lights. It was wonderful seeing how absorbing this could be for some. On Thursday some Lower Sixth Psychology pupils developed a display called ‘Zebras don’t get ulcers’ about stress and stress management, and invited pupils to engage with some key papers on the subject and partake in a self-evaluation on how they deal with stress. Inventor James Dyson famously started his inventing career by taking things apart and putting them back together to understand how they worked. On the final lunchtime, the DT technician brought down a Dyson Foundation vacuum cleaner which pupils could dismantle and reassemble to try and do the same.

Evening workshops were organised by the traditional science departments and Design and Technology as the third strand. Physics offered tower building with spaghetti and marshmallows and the chance to build a light wave radar from using Arduino controller boards, DT ran a session with robots which required coding to complete a top secret and dangerous mission. Biology allowed pupils to dissect an alien-like squid and Chemistry offered experiments involving fire to demonstrate how energy is harnessed with practicals on ‘fire writing’ and miniature thermite reactions and demonstrations involving black powder, gun cotton and ‘cannon fire’.

The final strand, ‘After Dark’ took place later after prep to help pupils wind down every evening and was either an opportunity to perhaps watch a Sir David Attenborough documentary, hear an extract of a Bill Bryon’s ‘Body’ book read or, as only the final night allowed, observe the stars.

In total 24 members of staff and pupils were involved running the events and assemblies that took place, but the impact was College wide thanks to the various touch points on offer and this is just the start. Next year, we would like to make Bradfield Science week bigger and better and would like to encourage members of the Bradfield Society, parents and alumni to be involved as we celebrate Science at Bradfield.

If you are interested in being involved with Bradfield Science Week 2025 please do let us know by contacting bradfieldsociety@bradfieldcollege.org.uk

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