This week I had a visit from our St Anne’s Year One students. They have been studying Science recently and are particularly interested in sound and light. I was a little nervous and apprehensive about how I would keep them occupied and interested for an hour, but I accepted the challenge.
The students dutifully arrived, on time and very much under the control of their wonderful teachers, Mrs Rich and Mrs Roberts. They all found a seat in the Physics lab and waited eagerly for whatever surprises lay ahead. We discussed sound, sound waves, frequency, pitch, demonstrated a sonic blast, tested our hearing and finally looked at standing waves in the Reuben’s tube. All of these topics could quite easily fill a term of Physics for our senior students.
While I always enjoy demonstrating Science to students, particularly junior students, I was particularly delighted by the level of curiosity the students displayed towards the topic; their willingness to engage each other in deep discussion as we completed ‘I see, I think, I wonder’ activities; and their respect for each other’s opinions and thoughts. It is when we teach children of this age that we see a genuine love of learning and a real curiosity about the world in which we live. While they will take in everything that the teacher might tell them, they will also question and wonder about these concepts in a vibrant and creative manner.
As we worked our way through each activity, I could see amazed faces, confused faces and curious faces. At the end of the session the students openly and honestly told me where they were with regard to their learning and the SOLO Taxonomy. With some simple hand gestures, they could indicate whether they were ‘unistructural’, ‘multistructural’, ‘relational’ or ‘extended abstract’. Those that were ‘extended abstract’ were able to tell me why my experiments would not work in space.
As educators, it is our job to capture and nurture this natural love of learning. As our young people grow older and become more entrenched in the school system, a love of learning can fall away, usurped by external pressures to perform. My time with the Year 1 students was an opportunity to be reminded of our moral purpose as educators and teachers: to inspire, encourage and nurture the love of learning that we are all born with.
I would like to thank Mrs Rich, Mrs Roberts and Mrs Canfield for bringing the Year 1 students to Garnsey Campus and giving me the opportunity to play with our wonderful Science toys. I am looking forward to visiting the Year 5 students on Tuesday next week to discuss Chemistry.