Posted: 21st March 2023


Our STEM coordinator, Mrs Wootton ensured that Channing’s first STEM week had something for everyone. In assembly on Monday, students heard from a number of Channing alumnae about their degrees and how these relate to the STEM subjects they studied at school.Year 12 students then had a talk from Professor Ewan Birney about DNA and how we can trace our family trees to common ancestors; we learned that our outward appearance is not always a good indicator of our family history. He also told us that DNA can be used to store data and we found out just how much information can be stored inside this remarkable polymer. There will be more to tell in next week’s Word From the Head, but for now, here are some of the daily Science and Maths jokes;

Biology News

Biology Challenge Competition was held at lunchtime on Monday,Thursday and Friday. Working alone or in teams of up to four, students identified body parts from X-rays and then completed an enzyme practical activity to determine the solution with the highest concentration of hydrogen peroxide. More importantly, they needed to explain the evidence for their conclusion.

Chemistry News

Each day, students in Years 7 and 8 were invited to come to make slime. It was great to see so many students come along and have fun making different colours of slime and comparing the texture, bounciness and flexibility of their product.Well done to all those who came along to get a stamp for their STEM passport!

Year 12 Chemistry students attended the Chemistry in Action conference virtually on Wednesday.They listened to a number of talks, including one from Kit Chapman, author and chemist on the weirdest ways that chemistry has changed the course of military history. Students interested in medicine were also able to hear from Alex Baker from the University of Warwick deliver a talk entitled “When Medicines become Drugs”, which was about how small chemical changes can change the world.There was also an insight into forensics and cutting-edge techniques during a talk from Rachel Bolton-King from Staffordshire University. She revealed how hidden evidence can be uncovered to establish the truth.

Physics News

We were delighted that some keen Year 7 students joined us at lunchtime to see if they could complete the steady hand challenge and the reaction time challenge. Could they move the loop of wire along the circuit without making the light come on and could they react in under 0.2 seconds when their partner started the electronic timer? Well, their reaction times were impressive and they almost made it to the end of the circuit! Well done Olivia, Rory, Sloane and May.

Computing News

In Computing,Year 7 and 8 pupils have been tackling a Python programming challenge, to draw a woodland scene using the Python turtle and a text compression challenge, to see how few characters they need to store information.We have already had some lovely attempts at both challenges. Here is the output from one of the Python programmes.

Maths News

Last week the whole of Year 10 went to Central London to take part in ‘Maths in Action’ in the beautiful Emmanuel Centre near Westminster. It was expertly organised by Mr Riggs-Long and MsYun.Year 10 enjoyed a range of entertaining Maths lectures such as Sophie Maclean:

Mathematician and Communicator, Nicole Couzens: Maths Educator and Harry Baker: Poet and Mathematician. Nicole looked at ‘How big is the earth? And how many aliens are there?’

Thea in Year 10 writes:
On Tuesday the whole of Year 10 went to the Emmanuel Centre in central London, where we listened to several lectures. There were lots of other schools there and there were interactive parts where we got to hear other opinions. The talks (all by experienced and interesting mathematicians) included coding, prime numbers, astronomy, straight lines, exam tips and more.We all really enjoyed the last lecture by the poet Harry Baker, where we listened to his slam poetry that won him a global competition!

Years 7 and 8 are gathering stamps from all 5 STEM subjects to complete a STEM passport. In Maths they are completing the group puzzle competition or making an origami model. Here is aYear 7 after making her origami bird!

Year 8 started the week with a Design competition with GSA. Maths, Geography and Art are collaborating on a ‘My Environment My Future’ competition. Maths started the students looking at drawing in 3D and drawing front and side elevation views. Geography will then lead them in looking at specific local areas where they will further develop their plans and sustainability aspects of regeneration. Art will then continue and refine their plans. Good luck, Year 8!

Year 9 on Wednesday had a session about coding and the Enigma machine with Mr Daurat and his sixth formers. Year 9 had a very entertaining presentation about the enigma machine and colossus and then tried their own code breaking. It was the perfect warm-up to the wholeYear trip to Bletchley Park on Friday.

On Tuesday there was a collaborative Maths Cross-number competition. The teams were mixed Year 8 and 9. One team had the across clues and one the down clues. They could only communicate through the Sixth Form marker.