Their research is all part of the CREST Superstar award for scientific rigour.
The award will see the classes undertaking a series of experimental investigations over the course of the term. These range from constructing bridges and testing camouflage to investigating wind resistance with homemade discuses. In order to undertake their research, the girls have also been provided with packs of essential scientific equipment to use.
The opportunity to undertake their own experimental scientific research isn’t one most 10-year-olds get so the award offers the perfect opportunity for them to focus on scientific methodology, discovery and encouraging scientific questioning.
This week, students were challenged to build different structures for bird nests using only peg and chopstick ‘beaks’ before testing if their constructions could withstand a Cornish downpour. They will present their findings in their digital classroom next lesson and discuss how they overcame any difficulties.
Their teacher, Mrs Clare Hallam said: “I really want the girls to be able to continue to develop their scientific enquiry skills, and to ensure that they continue to make progress, yet also to ensure that they are able to continue with the practical aspect of the subject which I believe is crucial to nurturing an enquiring mind. The CREST award offers a great way to do this.”
Experimental scientific research projects offer students the opportunity to stretch and challenges themselves way beyond the curriculum and the intellectual curiosity of girls at THS has led to a number producing such work. In March, for example, 15-year-old Charlotte made headlines when she undertook potentially ground-breaking astronomical research on the impact of solar events on whale strandings.
Many of the school’s Sixth Formers have also elected to undertake scientific research in addition to their A Level courses this year. Alongside specialist support from the school’s teachers, the girls receive one-to-one mentoring from academic researcher Dr Benny Hallam to publish their analysis.