BHGS goes Virtual

BHGS secures a £10K grant to roll out Virtual Reality to the classroom

We are delighted to announce that Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’ School was successful in securing a £10,000 grant to purchase a classroom set of Virtual Reality headsets, a 360 camera which students will use to make their own immersive projects and digital content.

Our vision is to use this alternative teaching tool to enable pupils of all abilities to succeed and enjoy their learning through stimulating, interactive and creative lessons and enrichment clubs. Our objectives are threefold. First, inspire and motivate pupils by transporting them to distant times and places such as life in the WW2 trenches or taking a tour of the solar system.

Secondly, by making abstract concepts tangible and easy to visualise, and providing context, we hope to engage with our pupils and so increase their knowledge retention. For example, Year 12 geography pupils could visit and compare landforms around the world, identifying key geographical features for their Coastal System and Landscapes topic as opposed to memorising lists from a text. Environmental issues could be grasped more easily by following the manufacture and disposal of plastic goods through to their devastating effect on the marine environment or tracking the recovery of the landscape following the effects of bush fires. In Science, the direct effects of Newton’s laws could be experienced and investigated moving through a virtual zero gravity environment. They could also practice mathematical problems by solving puzzles to escape a room.

Finally, we aim to increase proficiency in practical skills required by many subjects like science, geography, physical education and technology through repetition and real time feedback. Immersed in a virtual science experiment, pupils could safely practise laboratory skills and even experience the consequences of mixing the wrong substances in Chemistry. In sports practice, a pupil could react to a virtual bowler in cricket or prepare to return a serve in tennis, using task repetition to improve muscle memory and reaction times. Pupils could also practise field work skills when trips can’t take place.

The applications of VR in teaching don’t stop at practical subjects but could be used in modern foreign languages through conversations with avatars or exploring key landmarks and cultural aspects of the countries where the languages are spoken. VR can also be used to experience hands-on careers such as medicine or with pupils with Special Educational Needs and even be used with mindfulness apps to reduce exam stress or for students suffering with anxiety.

Following a successful trial in June, our intent is to introduce Virtual Reality in our Science Club in the Autumn and to fundraise for more sets to be added as more subjects make use of its teaching applications and opportunities.We hope you are able to support us in this exciting development and look forward to share examples  of its use in school soon.

A huge thank you to all the staff that gave up their time and supported this bid, especially Dr Baker, and to those students who trialed the technology in Science Club.

A step back in time

Year 12 examine what constitues a crisis

Year 12 history students visited Hampton Court Palace on Thursday 15th July. The visit enabled students to see first hand the iconic Tudor Palace which certainly provided an insight into the lavish, indulgent tastes of the Tudor Period. Students partipated in a ‘walking talking tour’ of the palace and examined evidence to decide whether or not there was a MId -Tudor Cirisis. The tour provided an excellent consolidation of our year 12 course and set the scene for our topic of study when we return in Year 13. The beautful grounds and sunshine certainly helped make it an excellent end to the term.

Polychromatic pH

Rainbow colours in our year 7 science class as we look at pH.

In our science lessons we have learnt about acids and alkalis and how they have different colours when you add a liquid called ‘universal indicator’. We have coloured in the pH scale and looked at different household items to see what their pH colour is with universal indicator. In our next lesson we are going to make our own indicator using red cabbage!

Celtic Harmony Camp Day Out

Wolf Tribe, a.k.a. 7 Hadid, wins the day at the Celtic Harmony Camp, Friday 9th July 2021!

Wolf Tribe (a.k.a. 7 Hadid) wins the day at the Celtic Harmony Camp on Friday 9th July 2021!

With perfect weather, Year 7 approached the Gates of Prehistory, led by one of the resident Celts to be greeted by another member of the tribe asking: “Do you come in peace?” To which the Year 7 army replied in one voice “NO!” ….Bloodcurdling….

Once entry to the camp was made, a full programme for the day was in store: A woodland celtic rune quest, fire making, torc making with celtic design face-painting, drumming in a celtic roundhouse and archery.

Gold Coins were awarded for pro-active participation and 7 Hadid won.

Well done to all for making this a great memorable day to conclude the year! Many thanks to Mrs Alliott, Head of Year 7, who had arranged this amazing experience for pupils to enjoy with friends to celebrate the end of a challenging year.

Mr Taylor

Site link: Celtic Harmony Camp

 

This is what Lilly-Jade Tennyson made of the day:

To end the year off with some fun, Year 7 got a chance to explore prehistory at Celtic Harmony. Throughout the day, we completed 5 activities; archery, drumming, fire lighting, face painting and a special quest. While completing these activities, each group had to earn gold coins to try and become the group at the end with the most amount of gold coins. Each activity was an opportunity to earn gold coins and understand prehistoric life. Archery taught us how to battle in prehistoric times; drumming taught us how to have fun; fire lighting taught us how to survive without a radiator or something to keep us warm and face painting taught us how to prepare for prehistoric battle. As for the quest, it was a fun little activity that helped us explore the Celtic Harmony grounds more freely. This was an extremely fun and educational day out and a great way to end the year. Thank you to Celtic Harmony for having us, a thank you to all the adults who came on the trip and a special thank you to the head of Year 7, Mrs.Alliot, for organising the trip and coming with us too!

 

And here’s what some pupils thought of it…

  • Jacqui: I particularly enjoyed archery and making torcs but also all of the activities that we did throughout the day too. I enjoyed seeing everyone happy and enjoying themselves too because it made me so happy. It was also really nice to be outdoors in a wonderful setting because this is really good for your personal mindset.
  • Emma: I loved the fire-making, the drum circle and the torcs. Also, the general environment was really lovely (the woodland setting). That was amazing and I’m glad I got to do them. It was a lovely break from the classroom.
  • Arabella: I really enjoyed going through the woods to the different activities and doing different things that the Celts would have had to do.
  • Amelia: Celtic Harmony was a wonderful experience. Although I had already been there before, I enjoyed the experience just as much. I had a lovely time with my form.
  • Narin: I enjoyed all the activities there, although my favourites were archery, fire making and painting each other’s faces!
  • Shayla: I loved the independence and how they let us do our own thing in our own way!

Year 10 Geographers in Norfolk

Data collection day visit to North Norfolk

Year 10 geographers got up early last Friday 9th July to travel by coach to Norfolk. We had a really enjoyable day visiting Cley-next-the-Sea and Sheringham. We were fortunate to visit on a sunny, dry day. The weather only turned as we travelled back to school! The students measured the beach profile using ranging poles, clinometers and tape measures, and also counted the number of waves/minute to find out whether they were constructive waves (build up beaches) or destructive waves (erode beaches). Visiting a beach first-hand really helped consolidate the learning in the classroom. We also had a surprise visitor – a seal popped up to see what was going on!

In Sheringham, the students were given the tasks of plotting the land use to find out whether the tourist shops and services are located nearer the sea; and also, to complete a pedestrian count to test the theory that the area nearer the sea is the busiest. There was time for a quick ice cream before boarding the coach home. We were sad that a few of the students were unable to come at short notice, as they had to isolate, as this was a successful fieldtrip and an enjoyable day out in the field. We can definitely say that ‘Geography Rocks!’

International Club

New International Club pupils produce their first brochure to help others for whom English is an additional language

This term marks the launch of a new publication for BHGS – a brochure for students coming to the school from countries outside the UK. The brochure is a little different to the rest of the materials sent to parents and carers as it was created by BHGS students who themselves come from an international background.

The creation of the brochure took place at the newly formed International Club – the brainchild of Mr Lister and the Learning Support department. This club runs between 08.00 and 08.55 on Mondays and Wednesdays and is open to all students who have joined the school from overseas learning settings, which means that for most of the club members English is an additional language. The club not only encourages the students to take part in group activities like the writing of the brochure, but also offers an informal setting for the students to socialise with other young people who are adapting to life in a new country, and it provides an opportunity for them to practice their developing English language skills with people who speak at their pace.

As the 2020-2021 academic year draws to a close, our Learning Support team will be looking at how to take the International Club forward in the next academic year. Already the students are having fun putting together a poster for the club based around memories from their home countries. The club also has its own music playlist and the students are thinking of how they can welcome new members in the autumn term. Supporting students with English as an additional language (EAL) is one of the many activities that are undertaken by the Learning Support department at BHGS, along with all the excellent work it does in settling and assisting students with learning and medical needs.

International Club Brochure 2021

 

 

Maths Challenge

What a year we’ve had!

This year has seen some of the best results for our school. Every year we get our best students to sit a national test called the Maths challenge. Students are awarded Bronze, Silver or Gold awards based on how they perform, and the top 3% of the test go on to a further round of the competition. This year, we have been lucky enough to get a grand total of 50 Bronze Awards (24 – Year 7 & 8s, 21 – Year 9 & 10s, 5 – Year 12s), 17 Silver Awards (11 – Year 7 & 8s, Year 9 & 10s, 1 – Year 12) and 6 Gold Awards (all from the Year 7 and 8s!). For each tier of entry the top 3% move on, and this year we had 8 progress to the next round: Emily Parry, Cecile Robson, Serena Syed, Amelia Taylor, Genna Yuen from year 7 and 8, and Scarlett Boswell, Ruby Canter, Amber Sugg from year 9 and 10. Of those that progress to this next round the top 0.8% are awarded a Merit. We are ecstatic to be able to say a huge well done to Emily Parry, Genna Yuen and Amber Sugg for achieving this very prestigious award!

Discovering DNA in Year 8

Year 8 extract DNA from kiwis and model its structure.

We have studied inheritance as our last science topic in year 8. We isolated DNA from kiwi fruit, it looks like white strands between the 2 different liquids in the test tube. We followed this up by creating part of a DNA strand using origami; this can be tried at home: https://www.yourgenome.org/activities/origami-dna

DNA is the code for all our characteristics and causes variation in organisms. The likelihood of becoming ill with Covid can be linked to DNA (https://www.sciencenews.org/article/coronavirus-covid-how-dna-genetic-risk-infection-severe-illness). Did you know we share 90% similarity in DNA to our cats! DNA is very important in our lives and very interesting to study!

If you also want to find out more about the science behind Covid, why not take a look at our Science faculty assembly here: The Science behind Covid

Year 12 Coasts Fieldtrips

Year 12 coastal fieldwork

In place of the planned 4-day residential fieldtrip to Swanage in April 2021, we arranged day visits for Year 12 geographers to collect data for their NEA coursework in Southend-on-Sea and Studland Bay on Wednesday 30th June and Friday 2nd July 2021. 10 students visited 3 of the beautiful Southend beaches: Shoeburyness, Thorpe Bay and Chalkwell to collect data to investigate the changing beach characteristics along this stretch of coastline, including beach width and profile, pebble shape and size, wave type. It was also an opportunity to see first-hand the impact of different coastal defences on beach morphology. We had a great day despite getting a bit muddy due to the tide being out!

Two days later, 14 students visited Studland Bay sand dune system on a lovely sunny Friday. Studland sand dune system is the only west-east system in the UK and gives the opportunity to experience all stages of plant succession from the marram grass on the sandy, embryo dunes to the climax community of trees, within a short distance. The students collected data on the changing sand dune profile, plant species diversity and height, soil pH and temperature and they were able to see first-hand how humans have impacted the sand dune development. It was so good to be able to take students out into the field following 18 months of restrictions. We really hope the 4-day visit next April will be able to go ahead for the new Year 12 geographers!