Biosciences Showcase for Biology Week 2019

Biosciences are showcased in an array of activities for Biology Week 2019

It has been another exciting Biology Week at Bishop’s this year as the amazing world of biosciences was showcased in an array of activities and experiments. House Franklin reports on what they enjoyed the most:

Plague, pox and pestilence – How pathogens enter the body & antibodies work “The Biology Week Lecture held for Year 11 was a very eye-opening and informative session. Not only was the lecture fun and interactive, it was also packed full of relevant information to better our studies of vaccines and pathogens. During this session, we learn a lot about antibodies and antigens and we were taught the ways in which a pathogen can enter the body. I thought this session was very useful and engaging.” Pearl, 11Fr

Maggot racing – Observing insect response to stimuli “I don’t like maggots but it was great fun trying to get them to move along the race track with a light. Mine took a long time but some of my friends had very quick maggots. Everyone got involved including the teachers, it was great fun.” Amelia, 7Fr

CSI – Solving a crime, using state-of-the-art forensic techniques “On Wednesday 9th October, we had a day off timetable for a CSI workshop (forensic science). We had to figure out who killed a man called Ben. It was really fun and interesting. It was also very stressful because the man who was running the workshop gave us a time limit and put on stressful music which accelerated when the timer was running out. At the beginning of the day, we were put into groups of 6. The groups were named after famous detectives; I was in Marples. At the end of the day, the three winning teams got gold, silver and bronze medals (depending on where they came) and a box of chocolates per group. My group didn’t win, sadly…” Charlotte Gould, 9Fr

Amgen – Manipulating & separating DNA from cheek cells, using professional biotechnology equipment borrowed through the Amgen programme. “We spent the day extracting and analysing our own DNA as well as working with bacterial plasmids. We extracted DNA from our cheek cells and amplified it using the polymerase chain reaction. Whilst this was amplifying, we carried out a restriction digest on two plasmids and then ligated a gene into one of the plasmids. We visualised this ligation on a gel using a technique called DNA gel electrophoresis. All these techniques are in our Biology A level specification and hard to understand; so actually doing the experiment was great and we will also now be able to analyse our results and carry out some further population genetics based on the class results.” Annie, 12Fr

Skype call with a zoo-keeper – Question time with an expert in zoology “During Biology Week, we had a Skype session with a zoo keeper from Whipsnade Zoo. She was a bird keeper and actually showed us the flamingos at the zoo…live! We asked her lots of questions about why she chose this career and what we would need to do if we wanted to become a zookeeper. She gets to hand-rear chicks but it takes a lot of time with feeds every 2 hours!! It was really interesting and great fun.” Beth, 11Fr

Animaltastic – Learning about exotic animals, their habitat and conservation methods “This was great fun! We saw a snake, tarantula, pygmy hedgehog, armadillo and giant millipede. The armadillo looked very odd and stayed curled up but we heard about its habitat in the wild and how it is adapted to its environment. The tarantula hunts its prey but spinning webs that cover a large area of the floor and then it bites anything that gets trapped in it. We were allowed to hold or stroke all the animals and I learnt a lot about both cold-blooded and warm-blooded animals.” Dr A.Bune, Head of Franklin House and Joint Head of KS3 Science

We all look forward to Science Week next!

Meeting Henry VIII in Hatfield House

Tudor history brought to life at Hatfield House

On Tuesday 15th October, Year 8 visited Hatfield House, as part of our History topic on Henry VIII. The day began by firstly meeting Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth wife. She taught us about what life was like being married to Henry VIII and also how we should greet him. She described Henry as a grumpy man who only cared about himself. Next, we had the opportunity to actually meet him! We had gifts that included a painting, a drink and a bowl of water, (for him to wash his hands in). As part of our visit we also looked around some of the gardens. We found out that this was where Elizabeth I (Henry VIII’s daughter) was told she was going to become Queen.

We had a great morning and found it very interesting!

Daisy Saunders (Year 8)

Lessons from Auschwitz

Becoming a Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassador

by Melody Cremer

In February 2018, I stood upon one of the worlds’ biggest graveyards. It was not covered with tombstones or flowers, however, but cattle sheds. These cattle sheds were filled with bunk beds- if they could even be called beds. I don’t know when the magnitude of where I was standing hit me. I felt numb. This was a place where people were degraded to no more than animals, dehumanised, forced to sleep in barns designed for German cattle. I was standing in Auschwitz Birkenau: an extermination camp, once the centre of Nazi occupied Europe.

In the depths of winter in 1941, temperatures in Poland plummeted to -25 degrees. Prisoners in Auschwitz wore thin pyjamas, often barefoot or in uncomfortable wooden clogs. Our group stood upon the frozen ground, shivering despite our thick warm clothes in -7 degree temperatures. Perhaps it was then I realised the magnitude of Auschwitz, and the mercilessness of its perpetrators. How could man treat his fellow men as cattle? Was it apathy? Fear? Evil? This is one of my lasting memories from visiting Auschwitz.

My name is Melody Cremer, and I am a Regional Ambassador for the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET), representing the Thames Valley and the Chilterns. In 2018 I took part in the Lessons from Auschwitz project. Through the project, I was able to watch a Holocaust survivor share their testimony, take part in a one day visit to Auschwitz, and then share what I’d learnt from the visit with my school community.

Each year Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’School offers two students the opportunity to take part in the Lessons From Auschwitz Project. Despite a high volume of applicants, only 2 students can go per school. There are no hidden criteria: you do not have to have studied History at GCSE or A Level, nor do you need an in-depth knowledge of the Holocaust. I dropped History after GCSE, and did not want to take it up at a higher level. I wanted to go on the Lessons from Auschwitz project so that I could help challenge modern day discrimination and Holocaust Denial.

If you are not chosen, you can still play a role in Holocaust Education. The HET Ambassador Conference (AmCon) is an enormous event held each year in London, bringing students from across the UK together. Famous speakers such as Robert Rinder are joined by Holocaust survivors sharing their testimonies, and world leading historians giving insights into their groundbreaking research.

There are two compulsory seminars for those who take part. Your first seminar will involve watching a Holocaust survivor share their testimony, as well as an opportunity to learn more about pre-war Jewish life and the Holocaust. Many people will never get to hear a Holocaust survivor share their testimony; we are the last generation. I have heard three Holocaust survivors share their testimonies. In the past year, two of them have passed away. The legacy of their stories has driven me, as I am determined to ensure that what they experienced is never forgotten.

The visit itself will occur shortly after the first seminar. Practicalities surrounding clothing, food, transport and costs can be found on the Holocaust Educational Trust’s website ( The one day trip is heavily subsidized, costing just under £60.00.

There is no singular way you should react to what you will see. There is no obligation to cry: I felt numb, crying when I got home and the magnitude of what I had witnessed hit me. The scale of loss is incomprehensible: families and friends torn apart in the grim efficiency of the Nazi regime. You will attend a follow-up seminar where you can discuss the visit with others, helping you to process what you have seen and then decide how best to share the lessons you learned from it.

As part of LFA you must commit to sharing the lessons that you have learned through visiting Auschwitz and hearing a survivor share their testimony (your ‘Next Steps’). This can be anything: from making a film or presenting an assembly, through to teaching a history class about Auschwitz. It will be your role to humanise the Holocaust: using human stories, not facts and numbers.

You can continue to work with HET after your next steps. Events, such as museum visits, are held for ambassadors throughout the year. If you wish to take your role further can apply to become a Regional Ambassador, an excellent opportunity that allows you to meet others passionate about Holocaust education, and work alongside them on local projects.

I hope you apply to take part in the Lessons from Auschwitz Project. It is an unforgettable and hugely impactful experience. As a Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassador you will become part of a network of over 39,000 people, all determined to educate their communities about the Holocaust.

Year 8’s Visit to Kew Gardens

Experiencing different ecosystems from around the world!

Year 8 pupils enjoyed a wonderful time at Kew Gardens on 10th October 2019. We visited the Palm House where there are fantastic examples of rainforest plants, the Princess of Wales Conservatory for hot desert cacti and succulents and also the Temperate House. The girls experienced the hot humid conditions found in the rainforest and saw the lush vegetation that have adapted to survive in the tropical rainforest such as waxy eaves with drip tips. We learnt about how cacti have spikes that are rolled up leaves that help reduce transpiration in the hot desert. We were fortunate to visit on a beautiful Autumn day and climb up to the canopy level on the Treetop Walk. The walkway even sways in the light breeze, like it would in the canopy of the rainforest! A really enjoyable and awe inspiring day.

Is My Home Earthquake Proof?

Experiment to find the best earthquake proof structure!

Year 9 geographers were given the challenge of designing a structure out of spaghetti and marshmallows that would withstand the ‘earthquake test’. Each group was given 30 pieces of spaghetti and 40 pieces of marshmallow and had 15 minutes to design their structure. Each group then had 1 minute to persuade the class that their structure was the best before being tested on a tray of jelly that was shaken to represent an earthquake! We found that the best structure had a wider base that was square or rectangular and also had triangular sections to give additional strength.

House Franklin’s £1 challenge to raise money for Cancer Research

Selling cakes in Lister Hospital for Cancer Research UK

House Franklin decided to raise money for Cancer Research as we had a member in our form who had suffered with leukaemia. We decided to organise a Teacher’s Karaoke session at a lunch time but this didn’t exactly go to plan… but we learnt from it and decided to plan more efficiently as a team for the rest of the challenge. Our next activity was a Movie Night for Year 7 pupils before the start of their Year 7 Welcome Evening which would keep them occupied before their parents arrived at school. We also organised a ‘Guess the amount of sweets in the jar’ competition across all forms in school, and – as the mum of one form member works at the local hospital – a Cake Sale in the Lister Hospital. We raised a total of around £115, and we’re very proud of our achievement! It was fun and we all bonded as a form, engaging with people we had never met before. We can’t wait to see how the Year 12s do next year.

House Hadid raises money for Sands

House Hadid’s chocolate raffle raises a lot of money for charity

For its £1 Challenge, House Hadid chose the Sands charity, a stillbirth and neonatal charity that supports all families affected by the death of a baby. We chose this charity because it is not a charity that many people know about; so we wanted to raise awareness of it.

For our fundraising, we organised a raffle with a prize of a chocolate and sweets hamper. The younger years were particularly enthusiastic about this! As soon as we received our start up money, we set out to the town centre to buy chocolate and sweets that could be suitable for everyone, in order for everyone to be included. We created a beautiful hamper and organised pairs to go out through the school every break and lunchtime to sell raffle tickets. Congratulations to our winner, Anna Staples in Year 7!

In total we made £50.85 profit from visiting form rooms at break and lunch.

House Seacole £1 Challenge

Teachers enter the jungle for Herts Young Homeless (House Seacole)

The charity House Seacole chose to raise money for was Herts Young Homeless, because members of our team had friends or knew other young people in the area who had been affected by homelessness. The charity is also very local and small, so we believed any funds raised would be extremely beneficial to our local area.

In order to raise money for our chosen charity, we first organised a “ I’m a teacher, get me out of here” event, in which a range of teachers took part in bushtucker trials for the entertainment of younger years in school. Mr Dudley and Mrs Redpath became King and Queen of Bishop’s, after both winning their respective challenges and being voted for by the crowd. We charged money for entry in order to make money for our charity. Our second fundraising scheme involved contacting the charity for money boxes, t-shirts and wristbands. We then spread awareness in different locations around Hatfield, collecting money and informing members of the public about the aims of our charity.

These two activities were successful and in total we managed to raise £80 for Herts Young Homeless. We hope this will help the charity grow in our local area and make a difference to our community.