Year 8 Science Fair encourages independent research in younger boys

Pupils took part in their own Science Fair, following weeks of preparation during the second half of the Summer Term.

The boys, now in Year 9, firstly spent time during lessons choosing a research question, following a similar process to that undertaken by many Year 12 students when they select an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) topic. They then planned an appropriate method for collecting results and over a period of two weeks collated the data.

The next stage was for them to produce a poster to present their ideas to students and staff – similar to the posters that PhD students and other academic researchers are often asked to produce to explain their work.

""The projects selected by the boys included:

  • Redesigning the digestive system to cope with a modern diet
  • Exploring aspects of psychology by investigating the causes of musical preferences
  • Examining the factors which can influence magnetism.

At the fair, the boys had to justify their experimental approaches and explain their findings to an audience of students and staff, thereby developing both their confidence and their skills in articulating their thoughts.

""Head of Lower School Science, Sarah Westcott, who is also Head of Pupil Progression, said: “It was important that students could experience the ‘real’ scientific process where experiments do not always go to plan and you have to learn from your mistakes and move on.”

Dr Westcott also explained the thinking behind the Science Fair: “In recent years, older pupils at QE have benefited greatly from our emphasis on encouraging independent thought and analysis through research. Through events such as the Science Fair, we are now extending this approach to ever-younger boys to further improve their education.”

She added that Year 12 students had commented on how impressed they were with the standard of the work, despite the relatively young age of the boys involved.