Science

This week is British Science Week, a time to celebrate STEM (that’s science, technology, engineering and maths).

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a scientist, you are surrounded by science all the time. The building you are in right now? Carefully designed using maths and physics to make sure the ceiling stays up. The food you eat? Grown using knowledge gained from centuries of biology and agricultural science. The smartphone in your pocket? One of the most incredible feats of technology that humans have produced.

In fact, we are living through an incredible age of discovery. Until 1900, human knowledge doubled every century. By 1950, it was every 25 years. Now — thanks to the internet, “Big Data” and the rapid growth of scientific invention — human knowledge doubles almost every day.

In the last year alone, scientists have revealed the first ever image of a black hole; a robot on the path to self-awareness; and a step towards resurrecting the woolly mammoth.

But don’t be daunted. Anyone can learn to think like a scientist. All you have to do is follow the scientific method: making a prediction, testing with an experiment, and analysing the results. What will you discover next?

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Assembly

Watch this short video on one of the great scientific mysteries: are we alone in the universe? Discuss what it might mean if we were, or if we were not.

Activities

  1. What was the greatest scientific discovery in human history? Discuss as a class and take it in turns to nominate different inventions or discoveries. Then vote for a winner!
  2. Conduct your own science experiment this week! Choose a topic that interests you (e.g. the best way to grow a plant). Come up with a hypothesis (e.g. water and sunlight) and an experiment to test it (e.g. growing several plants in different environments). Report back at the end of the week with your findings.
  3. Write a report about a scientist you admire. Include details about their work, and how it changed the world.