Form II were told that the topic for their Independent Learning Project was the theme “Being Human”. They would be visiting @Bristol, an interactive science centre, where they would have a fun presentation about the brain and then would have some time to explore the centre and participate in many of the activities there.This would be a “starter” for them to think about what they would like to work on for their project. The girls were divided into 4 groups and asked to explore in their groups to begin the brainstorming process.
This visit was a great success with the girls participating with great curiosity and enthusiasm in the many activities on offer. Each group had a camera to record things of interest and could also get photos of certain activities by scanning the bar code on their wrist bands. Once back at school we had a brainstorming tea where the girls began their planning, using mind maps to organise their thoughts. They then had time over the weekend to follow up on their original thoughts in preparation for two days off timetable on the following Monday and Tuesday.
On Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 June each group set to work in earnest, researching relevant topics from some of the excellent books in the library and using the internet. Each group was asked to make a bibliography of their information sources and to be aware of the importance of checking facts from such websites as Wikipedia. It was fascinating to see the different directions each group had chosen to take, and to see the girls organising the tasks on the basis of different skills and abilities.
Miss White, Teacher in charge of Photography, gave the girls a presentation on using visual imagery effectively and Mrs Oakley talked about making interesting presentations that keep an audience’s attention, showing the girls a TED talk entitled “Death by Power Point”. Although this talk was primarily aimed at adults in a business community, the girls listened attentively and demonstrated in their subsequent presentations that they had put into practice the advice given.
Each team had a mentor from the teaching staff to help with support and suggestions but on the whole the girls worked independently and collaboratively. By Tuesday afternoon each group’s display boards were full of colourful and interesting information and images. Some groups had produced handouts, others had devised games, and some had produced Power Points or videos with music to enable their presentations to appeal to visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners. We had a technical rehearsal to ensure that anything that required the smart board was working properly and in prep on Tuesday evening the girls ran through their presentations for Liz and Su so that they could iron out any minor problems and know what, if anything, they had to tweak.
On Wednesday morning the girls took it in turn to make their presentation to a panel of judges. Although the winner is yet to be announced, all groups succeeded in impressing the judges with the content and style of their presentations. Each group had chosen different directions in which to take their investigations and also had their own unique presentation styles. They demonstrated that they had taken on board the success criteria and requirements given to them as well as advice given by mentors and teachers. The levels of enthusiasm were maintained throughout the process and furthermore the girls, despite being put in groups they may not have chosen, collaborated well and played to each individual member’s strengths. I think the girls would agree this was an interesting and exciting way to learn something new.
A record number of pairs took part in the Family Tennis Tournament this term and despite the lack of sunshine, the rain held off and the excellent BBQ helped keep everyone going. It was great to see so many First Form girls participating and holding their own against the older years and for parents from different years to be able to get to know each other. The semi-finals saw First Formers Sophie and her dad along with Florence and her dad playing against Emmy (Form IV) and Constance (Form II). The final saw reigning champions Emmy and her dad take on Constance and her brother. Once again Emmy and Dad came out on top to win the trophy for a third year in a row.
Congratulations to all those who took part and here’s to next year!
Form II went on an exciting trip to Cheddar Gorge, accompanied by Ms Fagan (our Science teacher) and Mrs Worrall (our Geography teacher). Our trip into Gough’s Caves was very interesting and everyone was eager to learn as much as possible about the caves. We had a lovely guide who kindly answered all of our questions and helped us learn even more about stalactites and stalagmites. To be in a cave that had been discovered almost 200 years ago and learning about ‘Cheddar Man’ who lived 9,100 years ago was fascinating. The trip around the cave took about 40 minutes and we learnt about the history and geography of the caves in Cheddar. We even saw some cheese in the caves as it is the perfect place to mature the cheeses because of its constant temperature and humidity.
Our second activity was a climb up the 247 steps of Jacob’s Ladder to the top of one side of the Gorge. It was a long and tiring trek making it a perfect place to sit down at the top and sketch the surrounding landscape ready for our geography lesson back at school. We also climbed up the extra steps to the Look Out tower where we had a great view of Cheddar from a distance.
A visit to Cox’s Cave was very spooky as it was covered in skeletons and lights making us jump and scream at the sight of anything unexpected!
After all of this we visited the ‘Cheddar Sweet Kitchen’ where we had a demonstration from the owner who showed us how to make lemon sherbets which tasted delicious. Then we had ten minutes to buy delicious sweets and yummy fudge from the shop.
It was nearing time to go back to school so we had half an hour to look around the little shops in Cheddar and many of us decided that we had to go to the Cheese shop as no one should leave Cheddar Gorge without trying the delicious Cheddar cheese.
After a really enjoyable day we got into the mini buses and set off back to school. Everyone really enjoyed themselves and learnt so much in Cheddar as well as having a fun day out.
Hermione, Form II Pupil
Dr Harden accompanied Sophia, Harriet, Constance and I (all Form II) to the Salter’s Chemistry Festival at Reading University. It was a fantastic experience and all four of us thoroughly enjoyed the day.
We arrived very early and firstly completed a very challenging crossword sheet given to us. After half an hour of looking around the Chemistry building we went to the lecture theatre where we were told what we were going to be doing for the rest of the science-packed day.
After the talk we went into one of the many Chemistry labs where we would be spending two hours trying to solve a murder case by testing different samples of unknown solutions to find out who had committed the murder. There were two sets of experiments which we did in pairs: Chromatography and sample testing. With half an hour left we completed our investigation with a neat forensic report.
In the afternoon we returned to the lab for another investigation. The scenario was that a meteorite had fallen onto the campus and we needed to find out the unknown metal by testing different metals and comparing them to the original meteorite metal. It was a challenging experiment because we were given so little sample or information.
After all these experiments we went back to the lecture theatre for a fun lecture of explosions and fun demonstrations.
Hermione, Form II Pupil
On 20 March we walked into the science lab to see ten little eggs in an incubator and a little blue box with a big light bulb. It was already made up with wood chippings, food and water.
Two cute little chicks had already been born and our whole year were hoping they would all hatch. We guessed right. By the next Monday all the chicks had been born and we were lucky enough to see a birth, when the chick hatched. It wasn’t very cute but within a couple of hours the fur had grown and it was very cute.
Miss Wells had set Form I a rota every morning and two of us would come in and clean the chicks’ little enclosure and if we didn’t have a science lesson that day we would weigh them.
Form I were allowed to name one chick and we named her Chicka. At the end of the science lessons sometimes we were allowed to take the chicks outside. They had a little cardboard pen so we brought them outside and let them roam around on the grass.
Then on Friday 1 May it was the chicks’ last day at Heathfield and we took them out for the last time and they had grown a lot and liked jumping around especially Chicka. We said our goodbyes and they were whisked away from us at lunchtime.
I really enjoyed the experience of looking after them and hopefully we can do it again soon.
Alannah, Form I Pupil
After morning lessons as usual, Founder’s Day started with a light lunch before the girls headed to St Mary’s Theatre to listen to guest speaker Major Kate Philp. Major Philp was injured whilst serving on operations in Afghanistan in November 2008. As a result her left leg was amputated below the knee. After 16 months of rehab she was determined she would return to work to pursue her professional ambition. Kate got involved with a charity called Walking with the Wounded and was selected to take part in their South Pole Challenge. It was while she was undergoing the selection process for the South Pole Challenge that she first came to talk to the girls at Heathfield. It was a real pleasure to welcome her back to talk to the girls again, having completed the expedition. Kate engaged with the girls talking about her challenging trip to the South Pole and focused on four key themes: Articulate, Reflect, Trust and Perspective. The girls asked many questions and joined Major Philp back in Mrs Heywood’s study to ask even more. After the talk the girls came together in their Houses for a high tea in the dining room. This was followed by a Chapel service which gave thanks for our founder Miss Eleanor Wyatt. The girls then attended a feast supper before the mystery evening entertainment which they had been excited about all day! They thoroughly enjoyed this year’s Founder’s Day evening entertainment by the UK’s number 1 beatboxing band, Duke.
The weekend afternoon activities started off with LVI Form De Valois students making pizzas in the Cookery Room with Forms I – III whilst Form V decorated the Assembly Hall in preparation for the evening’s formal dinner with Harrow.That evening the Lower School had a DVD night and Forms IV and LVI headed out for a night at the cinema. At 7pm the Fifth Form emerged from their rooms looking simply stunning, to the amazement of the Lower School girls who looked at them with envy. Their guests from Harrow arrived around 7.30pm looking suitably well dressed. The evening started with a three course meal, consisting of a tomato and mozzarella salad to start, chicken risotto as main and ‘Harrow’ mess for dessert. Following this they all took to the dance floor before the boys’ departure at 10pm. A great evening was had by all and a huge thanks go to Catering Manager Lee and his team for the delicious meal.
On Sunday Forms I and II went to Gravity Force to put their gymnastic talents to good use on the trampolines. Form III went Snow Tubing, which involved dragging a large ring up a dry ski slope before flying down a large slope in fits of giggles. Form IV spent the day fine-tuning their skills in preparation for their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh expedition. To finish, the water walkers were in action at the pool which was enjoyed by everyone there.