Senior School News

Science and Technology

The rapid development of technology over the past century alongside continued population growth has left your children with a challenging but exciting future. The Science department at BSM aims to support the development of not only the next generation of scientists, engineers and medical practitioners but to ensure all our students are global citizens who have the awareness and skills to solve the problems arising in our rapidly changing world.

A first class scientist needs strong numeracy, literacy, creativity and often exceptional practical manipulation skills. Our curriculum ensures the rapid development of scientific literacy and numeracy through authentic enquiry based learning. However, the key to developing exceptional young global citizens is ensuring that alongside the backbone of formal scientific education we have a strong focus on creativity and critical thinking skills.

We aim to produce young people who are able to creatively solve problems, apply their knowledge and understanding to new situations and who are able to collaborate with individuals with varied cultural backgrounds and skill sets. As a twelve year old you may have been taught conduction, convection and radiation, but were you asked to use your understanding to design a building that would remain cool in the summer, be cost efficient and built from sustainable materials? Were you then asked to test your model using a range of data-loggers to collect a set of data which would allow you to evaluate the quality of your original design? Throughout our curriculum, we challenge the students to apply their learning to real life situations from debating the ethical use of stem cells to designing and testing skeleton bobsleds.

From the very start of Year 7 we focus on data analysis skills and by the time students are in Year 9 students are learning about calculating uncertainties to aide their evaluations. A focus on the reliability of data and validity of conclusions is key to Science but also in a world where politicians and some sections of the media are making statements with no evidence base I am proud to say we work to develop students with a critical eye who can search for reliable information.

We ensure that we offer opportunities for students to design scale models and cost out projects. We also ensure that our students are challenged to use our departments resources as ethically and sustainably as possible. Our Year 12s were recently grouped with Year 13 students and had to use their scientific understanding to design and cost a solution to Manila’s water shortage issues. The final designs ranged from refitting the mothballed Bataan power station to some ingenious projects that focused on Barangay community projects. This cross curricular focus should ensure that we are helping students build an understanding of the links between scientific concepts, politics, ethics and business.

One of the biggest challenges for our IB students is the Internally Assessed investigation (IAs) and the extended essay. We have designed a programme where our students in Year 7 start to design and write up their own investigations and by the time they are at IGCSE some of the IAs are at an IB standard. We value practical skills and ensure that all students are challenged to improve their manipulation skills at all levels. From individual Bunsen burner challenges in Year 7 to practical titration checkpoints in Years 10 and 12, we assess what we value. This focus on practical skill across the sciences allows us to develop IB students who can use their skills to complete some impressively complex IAs and Extended Essays in Year 13. Our focus on practical Science has lead to the development of many units following a flipped classroom model where students are introduced to the knowledge and concepts at home through e-learning modules before spending their time in class being challenged by concept tests and then authentic practical challenges. Students learn the benefits of independent study and then enjoy a much richer learning experience in the classroom, develop better communication and collaboration skills and get more expert feedback on their work.

We have some inspiring scientists and business leaders in our community and I am always looking to make more connections with people who are making a difference with Science. It is hugely important for us to show the students that whilst the world faces numerous challenges there are also individuals, teams and companies who are using their expertise in Science to improve the world for all its citizens. If you think you could help out in any way, please do get in contact and help us further enrich the Science curriculum here at BSM.

Next week is Week B.

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