Fireworks for Senior ELP Scientists (and artists)…

Flame test performed on copper sulfate in a gas flame.

This week our Senior ELP Scientists have been working across the curriculum under the umbrella theme of “firework night”.

In Science with Miss Pique and Mrs Binnie they have been studying light and sound and trying to figure out which one travels faster. Fireworks and thunder and lightning have been used as good everyday examples of light travelling faster than sound. We can see the firework explode before we hear the delayed sound of the explosion. We see lightning first before we hear the delayed sound of thunder.

As it was an ELP birthday today, we thought it might be good fun to find out for ourselves! Firstly, we investigated how firework flames become coloured through undertaking our own flame tests with a range of chemicals. We had great fun making green, red, pink, purple and orange flames. Then we went outside to see how sparklers worked – kitted up with our own safety specs and heat proof gloves we had great fun in the playground watching white sparkles land all around us on the ground!

Elsewhere in our lessons we tied in this work with an artistic impression of fireworks against a dark sky. The clocks have gone back again and the nights are now very dark. Perfect conditions to see the sparkling colours of our fireworks in. The students worked with Mrs Hoban using black paper and a range of glitters and some glue to present our own take on rockets, catherine wheels and bangers. The end result was very effective and the pupils are now looking for somewhere suitable to display their work.

This weeks lessons are very  much going with a bang!

Bird is the word in Gardening…

We have been paying special attention to the needs of the bird life in the local community this winter. With yet another cold and snowy few months the need for looking after our feathered friends is even greater than usual. In November we spent a couple of lessons making and stock piling bird feeders and fat balls to be used through the colder months. Thankfully we managed this just in time for the dreadful cold spell that started in the last week of November and ended in January. We were able to put food out in the garden in a number of locations and help the small birds source energy when they needed it most.

On our return after Christmas we inspected our feeders and discovered that all of the food had gone. We were not surprised and set out to replenish the feeders again – just in case more bad weather happens.

In addition to being very vigilant and conscientious bird feeders we have also been studying other aspects of feathered life…

  • from a science perspective we have researched the kinds of birds that live in British gardens
  • in Art we have designed our own pictures of some of the different species in preparation for a survey of garden birds with the RSPB
  • through music we have studied a recording of bird song using it as means of relaxation and in order that we could consider why some birds sing…

Preston Lodge Bafta vote decided by survey…

This week in ICT we thought we could combine some important computing skills we have acquired recently with an interest in all of the news about Oscars and Baftas…

Last weekend saw a number of performers, films and production staff win awards for their work over the last year. The BAFTAS (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) were presented to such popular films as Up, Avatar and The Hurt Locker. As part of our weekly chat about things going on in the outside world, the pupils began discussing who they thought should have won a BAFTA – and why.

Amy thought Hannah Montana the Movie should win Best Film as “it was a good story with lots of great songs”.

Steven thought that Up should win best animation because “it was really funny and it made me laugh!”

Dale hadn’t seen the film he thought might win something (Invictus) but said he thought it would because it was a film with lots of action and he “liked action films and it has God (Morgan Freeman) and Bourne (Matt Damon) in it”. Dale suggested his favourite film that he had seen in 2009 had been X Men – Origins

We wondered what kind of films other people in Preston Lodge might like? In the last few weeks we have been practising collecting data, interacting with people and using information from surveys to analyse other information at life in Preston Lodge. We have conducted an Emotions Survey and thought we could perhaps do something similar to ascertain what film might win a  PLACE? <Preston Lodge Award for Creativity and  Entertainment>

We decided to short list 7 films for consideration. They did not all have to be 2009/10 films but they did have to come from a variety of  “genres” (style of movie).

These would include action, comedy, animation, romance, drama and musical.

We used YouTube to help us find appropriate trailers (always remembering that the film chosen had to be no more than a “12” rating) to watch and analyse ourselves before coming up with our final shortlist. We made sure we included our own nominations as well.

The final selection was as follows:

  • “Up” – a BAFTA winning and Oscar nominated animation comedy nominated by Steven because it is his favourite
  • “Hannah Montana the Movie” – a Disney Channel award winning musical teen film just because
  • “X men – origins” – an action movie nominated by Dale because it is his favourite
  • “Invictus” – a BAFTA winning and Oscar nominated drama nominated by Dale and Mrs B
  • “Titanic” – an Oscar winning romance nominated by Amy because she thought the ladies in the office would like it
  • “Slumdog Millionaire” – an Oscar and BAFTA winning drama nominated by Dale because he thought a lot of people liked it
  • “Avatar” – a BAFTA winning and Oscar nominated animation nominated by Steven because he wants to see it and lots of people have been to see it.

Randomly selected staff were accosted in corridors, classrooms, offices and car parks  and (as long as they were not busy with something too important to be interrupted) asked the vital question:

“Which one of these movies is the most attractive to you?”

Here are some of the completely unidentifiable responses we got from staff when they gave us their in-confidence responses…

  • An anonymous  random male member of staff who teaches music insisted that “it had to be Hannah Montana!”
  • An unnamed female member of staff who makes coffee in the staff room declared “it has to be Leonardo and Kate!”
  • A random HE teacher living next door to Mr Cruickshanks room exclaimed “I haven’t seen it but that doesn’t matter does it? Jai ho”.
  • An anonymous PT CDT living near Miss Angus said “I don’t think much of that Jai ho thing. Can I choose one I haven’t seen too?” and went for Invictus.
  • An unnamed male SfL auxiliary who wears a beanie hat said “Go girlfriend! It has to be Miley!”
  • An anonymous male PE teacher who definitely isn’t Mr Sellwood said “OH MY GOODNESS!! DID MR BISHOP AND STUART REALLY GO FOR HANNAH MONTANA? DEAR ME!”

Once our survey had been completed we brought the results back to the classroom and put the numbers into an Excel spreadsheet. We had headings for each film and then totalled up the number of votes for each one.

With 40% of the overall vote the winner of the PLACE 2010 for Best Film was SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.

In second place equal with 20% each of the overall vote came “AVATAR” and “HANNAH MONTANA”.

In fourth place equal with 5% each of the overall vote came “X MEN ORIGINS”, “INVICTUS”,  “TITANIC” and “UP”.

We plotted these results as a chart to display on our Blog Wall and to use as a visual aid in the coming weeks when we give a short talk about what we did in our survey and how we got the final results.