03 Mar, 2017
10 : 00
Students in the Yew Chung International School of Beijing’s Secondary School celebrated all things science this past week, devoting lunchtime each week to special awe-inspiring science-themed activities led by various teachers and our Scientist-in-Residence. Thursday also featured a Lower Secondary Science Fair, giving students the opportunity to display their own scientific projects and findings.
Katherine Sands, Head of Science in Secondary School, spoke with us about the series of events and how the week looks to enhance the Yew Chung International School of Beijing’s outstanding science programmes.
Please introduce Science Week.
Our science week is held one week before the nationwide Science Week that happens in the UK each year. Each morning, students take quizzes with their homeroom groups to get thinking about science. Every day at lunchtime, activities are held with different science teachers. These activities range from insects to fireballs to explosions to rockets! Thursday morning features our junior science fair, during which time students from Years 7-9 get a chance to show off their projects.
What does Science Week celebrate? How do you choose activities?
This will be the fourth consecutive year featuring a Science Week. The main goal of the week is to promote science across the school and encourage student interest in the subjects. We work in conjunction with the student council to come up with activities as well; the quiz aspect of this year’s week was entirely their initiative. We choose activities that are not only awe-inspiring and fun for the kids to experience, but will also hopefully encourage them to get more interested in scientific subjects in general.
How does science impact student development and learning?
Science is vital to student learning because it appears everywhere; everything can be related to science, even the pens and paper you use to write on. A student’s knowledge of science can be linked to many different subjects.
Science also helps develop students’ analytical skills. One of our main missions at the Yew Chung International School of Beijing is to shape our students into well-rounded citizens. In science in particular, we focus on analytical evaluation skills. Even when students are conducting practical experiments, they’re constantly asking themselves, “How can I improve this experiment or result?” These are skills that will help them not just in academics but in their adult lives as well.
How does the YCIS Beijing philosophy influence the way in which science is taught at the school?
One of our core principals is “align with science and technology,” so the importance we place on science is quite clear from the outset. From Years 10-13, the curriculum is quite intense and jam-packed with science topics. We’re looking forward to the beginning of IGCSE learning starting in Year 9 next year, which will give students a great opportunity to explore other options through project-based learning and have more opportunities to pursue what they’re interested in, whether it be chemistry, biology, physics, and more. I think that’ll be a great improvement.
What do you think makes YCIS Beijing’s science classes unique?
I think they’re quite a bit more lively and exciting than a typical science class. Kids love the hands-on environment we offer; we don’t want to just spoon feed them information. We want our students to be actively investigating experiments, to be hands-on, kinesthetic learners, and problem solvers. Every class at YCIS Beijing is exciting and lively, with plenty of discussions going on.
What science-related clubs or CCA’s do students have the opportunity to participate in?
There is a CAS club revolving around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) that is entirely student-led. Year 12’s also have a chemistry club that they are running independently. There are science booster clubs available to help with homework, and I’m leading a junior science club next CCA cycle. We have also offered robotics clubs, rocket clubs, and forensic science clubs in the past.