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It's been all about science in Upper Primary the last few weeks. Upper Primary pupils were invited to the Erasmusatheneum in De Pinte, where the students there had prepared a wonderful and exciting afternoon, filled with science experiments. Pupils were fascinated by bouncy eggs, eggs that could disappear into glass bottles, static electricity, DC motors, dancing raisins, slime, lava lamps and lots of other interesting experiments. The students explained everything in English, so that our pupils could understand the science behind the magic. It was a great visit and it also gave Upper Primary pupils an idea on how useful science is.
Battle of the Scientists
Back at school, all primary pupils prepared for another big science event. Together with International School Leuven, ISG pupils hosted a big science event on Friday 9th March. Together with Mr Hans from "The floor is yours", pupils were able to start up the big process and prepare for the Battle of the Scientists! Five scientists were chosen to come and present their research and pupils were then to choose the one scientist they found gave the best explanation about his or her research. It was an exciting day! Primary pupils were jury members, journalists, sound technicians, time keepers, voting team members, hosts, organizers, decorators, trophy makers and performers. Wow! What a success it was - it was great fun to host such an event! Pupils had a fantastic day together with the scientists. Scientist Yixing Sui won the battle - his research about Magic Powder really captured the pupils imagination and he won the first prize - a beautiful trophy! All participating scientists of course got a trophy, they all did a good job. They also got lots of drawings from the pupils. After the battle, Upper Primary pupils interviewed the five scientists and then wrote newspaper articles about the event. Pupils learnt a lot - and the Battle of the Scientists made them think even more about science.
In our Upper Primary classroom, a crime - a possible murder - forced Upper Primary pupils to use science themselves to solve the mystery. Of course they first had to learn a lot about Forensic Science. They were trainees for quite some time, before the police trusted them with the exhibits found on the crime scene. Upper Primary pupils had to learn about facts vs opinions, the not always clear line between true and false, fair testing and good questioning. They discussed how to make tests fair - by repeating a test several times and trying to eliminate factors that made the test unfair. They learnt about the importance of only changing one factor when testing. They learnt how to write a hypothesis and an explanation about a test before they started their testing, and how to write both the result and the conclusion. This all means that Upper Primary pupils now know how to write science reports. Once the pupils were fully trained, they could actually start solving the crime. They used evidence to make sure they didn't jump to conclusions. They had many good ideas and showed that they had learnt a lot during the training course. By testing the mysterious liquid found next to the body, the ripped note under the body, the blisters and bruises on the victim's body, they got a pretty good idea of what actually had happened in our classroom. They found a main suspect, and also a plausible chain of events that lead to the death of our poor victim - a scientists researching about children and their learning - but not enough evidence to actually arrest the potential criminal. Even though they wanted to...
Upper Primary pupils have learnt many good skills for how to write good stories, and one of their challenges was to write a story that took place in a real setting. Many of them also got inspired to write suspense stories, with mysterious crimes and sly criminals. Miss Ana is now helping Upper Primary pupils gather their stories in what will eventually become a whole story book. There is also a lovely challenge ahead, a story writing competition in Cambridge, UK. Many pupils feel inspired to send in a story to that competition, so we are all looking forward to that.
During the science units, it made sense to learn about the Personal Goal Enquiry, the skill to ask good questions and to use different methods to learn more about something interesting. Pupils have also focused on the Personal Goal Communication - to remember how to communicate in a good way. Communication is about talking and listening, about reading and writing. about body language and eye contact. We also talked about how to communicate online, since that is a big part of communication in our modern world. Pupils agreed that communication helps a group to feel good together, to have fun and feel safe together. Laughter is good for both our bodies and our brains. No-one should feel left out or feel that others make fun of him or her.
Pupils have really tried hard to focus on all our Personal Goals, since this has been a month where Upper Primary pupils have said goodbye to two classmates. Kihachi has moved back to Japan and Chinmay back to India. Pupils really did their best to make sure our two leaving boys felt good during their last weeks here at ISG, so that they have many good memories from us and our school. We wish them both the best of luck now that they face a new situation when they start school again - far away from us in one way, but very much remembered and dearly missed! Luckily we have also had lots of fun together, Pyjama Day, celebrating Stefan's birthday, dance practice for 'Sid's shuffle', our lovely International Festival with a great show and delicious food from around the world, Easter basket art, Easter egg hunt and lots of other things that have made us laugh and feel good together. It has been a good term, and now it is time for Easter holidays! After a cosy Friday morning, with tidying up our classroom, choosing time and Egg hunt, it is time to wish each other a lovely holiday! See you in two weeks time!