Why do we teach Science at Mersea School?
At Mersea Island School, we want our children to receive a high-quality science education so that all pupils are fluent in the fundamentals of science, have the ability to work scientifically and can apply their knowledge, skills and understanding to investigate and observe in a range of meaningful contexts.
Our curriculum for science is carefully sequenced to build knowledge, skills, vocabulary and experiences which build on prior learning and enable pupils to make connections between ideas/their learning and the world around them through purposeful memorable experiences.
We also want pupils to have an appreciation of how important science is in our lives and aim to nurture a sense of fun and curiosity about the subject. We want the children to see science as being relevant to their world and applicable to everyday life as well as being something that they continue to develop through their school life and ultimately to the world of employment/and beyond. To that end, we aim to provide a high-quality, interrelated and creative experience which is one that develops the children’s ability to question and think scientifically and one which allows them to apply the skills they have developed in a variety of ways.
We recognise our school has a very unique setting and use the local environment as a rich learning resource. We are also mindful that our pupils need to be aware of the cultural diversity which exists beyond the island and actively seek opportunities to deepen our pupils’ awareness, understanding and tolerance of the multicultural world in which we live.
We have started the school year with an out of this world experience in Science!
Between 1969 and 1972, six manned Apollo missions successfully landed on the Moon, allowing the astronauts to collect samples and bring them back to Earth for study. Some of these samples have been preserved in acrylic disks and have been on loan to us, along with a large range of meteorites, tektites, impactites and fossils, by NASA and the Science and Technology Facilities Council.
Children and staff in KS1 and 2 have all had the fantastic opportunity to view and handle these exciting rocks throughout the week and learn about different aspects of space and/ or rock. Inspiring lots of questions and thoughts (not all of which we could answer!)
Alongside the samples from the Moon, the large iron meteorite from Argentina was often the most popular due to its size and weight! Or the 14.7-million-year-old beautiful ‘Moldavite impactite’, glass formed when a meteorite hit in Germany and caused the ground to melt. We also saw a small piece of Martian meteorite which had come all the way from Mars (created by an asteroid colliding with Mars and sending particles into space on a trajectory that overlapped with the Earth’s.)
The children have also been gifted some lovely booklets and activities from the scheme to bring home and share with you. We hope to have inspired some future geologists, astronauts and scientists.
Mersea School presents our Red Squirrel Science Project
How is the shape of the red squirrel skulls on Mersea Island related to the food items available?
Mersea Island School are very excited to be working in partnership with The Royal Society and Dr Philip Cox from the University of York and Mr Andrew May of ACJ Ecology to investigate our local Red Squirrel population here on Mersea Island.
Dr Cox and his associates are keen to investigate the eating habits and jaw structures of the Red Squirrel to investigate the reasons for the decline of our native Red Squirrels in comparison to the Grey’s. They would also like to increased children’s awareness of wildlife conservation, particularly with regard to red squirrels in Great Britain, and change their perception of science and scientists.
The Royal Society have selected Mersea School as a successful partner in this project and our Red Squirrel Population and the unique setting make us ideal for this study. The funding has enabled the school to buy some hides, camera and potential foods, as well as a 3D printer in order to make and study models of the jaw structures of our local wildlife.
The aim of the project is to get children and their families involved both within the school and the community, helping to study and report back on squirrel sightings and food choices. The children in some year groups will also be completing some more specific investigations as part of their science lessons and/or an after school groups.
We would like the children and anyone else in our community who is keen to support us to watch out for local wildlife activity, in particular the Red Squirrels and report their findings back to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love some photos of the squirrels in action!
We would also like the children to collect some samples of the foods they have seen the squirrels eating and deliver these back to the school. These will be sent to York to be studied and compared with other Red Squirrel populations around the UK. (Due to the nut allergies in school we cannot have the samples on our school site therefore the children will be able to collect a plastic bag to contain any samples and a special box outside the school gates will be provided for people to drop their food samples off.)
If you are interested in hosting one of our cameras in your garden and have regular red squirrel sightings, please contact Mrs J Elson on the email above.
We look forward to learning lots more about our red squirrels and their local habitats.