Hello and welcome to the LWS Academy Rolls Royce Science Prize blog. This is my first ever blog so please bear with me! Firstly, let me introduce you to the team… I’m Donna Gale-Page, the project lead, I have been working at LWS for 11 years. I have worked in many different roles and have taught many of the subjects we offer. The project was an idea I had to address a staff shortage in middle of last year- teaching both maths and science at the same time through project based learning. As you have probably seen on our school website, we are a special school for boys with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs. The large majority of our students have been excluded from mainstream school and are disengaged with learning. The ‘project house’ curriculum has really played to our students’ strengths and interests; hands on learning with a worthwhile practical outcome.
During the first 6 months of the project we have worked hard to renovate a disused school building: we have painted; wallpapered; laid floors; put up tiles; made furniture; upcycled; designed and built stand alone flower and vegetable beds, grown our own fruit and veg from seed and made food with our produce – and most importantly had fun and learned a lot about science, maths, technology and OURSELVES!
Other members of our amazing team are Charlotte Hurst (who returned from maternity leave the day we became a finalist). Charlotte is an experienced SEMH teacher who has been teaching Science at LWS Academy for 4 years. Gail Newman, Design Technology teacher, has worked at the school for 13 years – she has an array of technology and engineering skills that will be invaluable to the project. Ioannis Chatzopolous, who will not be directly teaching the project but will be on hand to support with all things maths. Tom Dawkins, ICT &Communications manager who will support with IT, robotics, technology and most importantly will document our journey from start to finish. We are also lucky to have Andrew Saunders, who works at the school school part time. Andrew has a wealth of technology and engineering knowledge and has helped students develop and push ideas further than I thought was possible.
We have been back at school for 5 weeks and we have made a good start on our project. Year 7, 8 & 9 have chosen their first decoration jobs – each group will have their own room to renovate. So far, plans include a computer room, a calm relaxing room and the student bathroom. Sigma group have decided to focus on the garden area. The planning for each of the rooms is almost complete; working out the area to see how much paint/wallpaper is needed, budgeting for the project, deciding what type of paint is needed for each room depending on its properties. Sigma group have researched the types of plants that will grow in the winter and prepared the garden beds. As you can see in our photos, its amazing how much science and maths can be found when you are renovating a house.
|20/9||3 x Chrome Books||£600|
The students had to work out area and find out how many tiles they needed for the job. They also had to choose products that would stay in budget. They also investigated patterns in which tile and flooring are laid.
The students also had to budget and measure spaces for furniture. Some students had the very important job of keeping the work force fed- we had a variety of cakes and lunches, some even using our home grown produce.
There is also some exciting news on the horizon, we may have the possibility of getting a bigger and better building for our project. This would have an even bigger impact on the students and the project, as it would serve a wide community rather than just our school.
We are looking forward to doing our practical tasks over the coming weeks –please check out our twitter feed @LWSAcademy