What was your highlight of Science week?

Our thanks goes out to Mr Oxenham for arranging and leading a truly inspirational Science week!

One of the highlights was the talented Anna and her “Street Science Show”. The children saw some amazing tricks and learnt about the science behind them.

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A personal favourite was seeing Miss Carver pull a table cloth from a table without removing any of the teapots or plates from the table first. (Don’t try that at home!)

Coding in Little Dorrit and Gargery

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This week, I was amazed to see expert coding taking place in the reception classes. All of the children were taught how to use codes in order to animate a character of their choice. The children confidently used codes to make the character move up, down, do turns and even speak!

Well done Little Dorrit and Gargery and I can’t wait to see what you achieve next week.

What an amazing STEM week so far!

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This week has been science week and we have had so much fun! Key Stage Two have been visited by inspirational scientists and taken part in hands-on science workshops.
Key Stage One have all visited “Tower Bridge Experience” to learn about the amazing engineers who helped create a bridge with lifting bascules. This was an amazing challenge at the time.
All classes have taken part in an hour of code, where they learnt about the importance of coding computers. Did you know that without computer programmers we wouldn’t have modern airlines, spaceships and so many other things that we take for granted?
I have just witnessed Early Years being treated to a special “Street Science Show” where the children were able to witness, and take part in, scientific experiments which they could try at home.
I can’t wait to see what else lies in store for us as we enter the final day of our Spectacular Science week!

Animals take over the school!

Today, Charles Darwin School was occupied by countless animals representing all the different animal kingdoms. There were marine animals, birds, land mammals, extinct dinosaurs and if Charles Darwin had been here I’m sure he would have identified a new species or two. Thank you to all the children, parents and staff for helping to make the day so colourful and enjoyable!

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The Zoo Bus

Science and Engineering week was kicked off with a bang or rather a bus as Dr Mike Leahy and his zoo bus pulled into the Lant Street playground yesterday morning. Stepping on to a double-decker bus you normally expect to be greeted by the driver and a few dozen other passengers but for Charles Dickens pupils catching children catching TV presenter Dr Mike Leahy’s unique Zoo-Bus, there was a whole host of weird and wonderful treats on board.

Dr Mike Leahy’s passengers include reptiles such as tree frogs, a bearded dragon, tarantulas and a two-metre long boa constrictor, which all come from his private collection. After pupils had explored and bravely held the animals in the mobile zoo, they popped upstairs to the top deck ‘micro lab’ to look at very small creatures in more detail. A brilliant immersive zoological experience!

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CSI Week – The Great Diamond Mystery!

Throughout last week, our children had the opportunity to become expert Crime Scene Investigators, by helping our local police officers solve the mystery of the stolen Charles Dickens Diamond.

Nursery and Reception classes joined in the fun by searching for footprints and getting suited-up as forensic scientists to investigate the crime scene.

Year 1/2 transformed into fingerprint analysts and chromatographers (to identify whose pen had written a shopping list found at the scene).

Year 3/4 discovered the intricacies of DNA which saw them creating their own giant molecules from marshmallows and liquorice lace. Year 5/6 made careful observations of blood and fabric samples, using microscopes borrowed from Dulwich College science department, and were treated to a talk from one of our reception class’ parents, Katia Mahn, who taught them all about DNA and it’s uses in criminology.

We also had a visit from Andy Mayer, our governor responsible for science, who talked to the children about his work in chemical manufacturing at BASF, as well as a visit from Joyce Chang, a Scene of Crimes Officer from the Met Police, who demonstrated the art of collecting fingerprints from a crime scene.

Both children and teachers were so wrapped up in their investigations and collected so much evidence that, by Friday, we were able to name the culprit as… Miss Sumner! However, following her arrest, we all learnt that she was not as guilty as we had all been lead to believe… She revealed that the whole week had been set up by Miss Chapleo, to form this year’s Science Week! So the Charles Dickens Diamond is safe again… Thank goodness for that!

A special thank you to the talented Miss Chapleo for leading such an fun and science packed week.

Here is the video which introduced the CSI week to the school.

Design a Scientist Competition Winners

Congratulations to all the key stage 2 winners of the Design a Scientist competition. All the winning designs were highly creative and build on the experiences of science week! Well done to everyone who entered and thank you to Ms Chapleo for organising the competition.


‘A Discipline’ Of Scientists? ‘An Einstein’ Of Scientists?

We are not sure what  the collective noun for a group of scientists should be ( ‘a bunsen’? ‘A quantum’? ‘A study’? )  but what we do know is that we were extremely lucky that lots and lots of scientists gave up their time this week to come and share their experiences and knowledge with the pupils at Charles Dickens Primary School. We are extremely grateful to each and every one of you.

Today, we welcomed Dr Giovanna Lalli and Dr David Chambers ( both neuroscientists at Kings College London). We also welcomed Dr Kier Shiel, a paediatrician and Ms Ami Sawran, a vet at the Royal Vetrinary College – Mixie, the Shitz- Zu, whilst not a scientist was also a welcome guest and demonstrated how science can improve the lives of animals.

From the photographs, you can see the sessions were both enthralling and interactive. With Dr Shiel, Pickwick class learnt about germs and bugs and how to diagnose illnesses from blood tests, using a stethoscope and from X-Rays. Ms Sawran talked about the job of a vet with Nursery and Reception classes – we met Mixie and learnt how the vets saved her sight in one eye after she suffered from Glaucoma. Dr Chambers taught us all about neurones and how the different parts of the body send messages to each other – our favourite part was seeing how the brain develops in embryos – the human body is a very clever thing!

We held a Q and A session with all the scientists in the afternoon. Here are some of the questions the School Council asked them – can you remember the answers?

1. Can you describe your typical day?

2. What are most proud of about your job?

3. When you were in school, what subjects did you study?

4. What would you like to work on next?


A Visit From The Birdman – we say hello to an American bald eagle!

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the school was visited by The Birdman and 4 of his birds of prey, from The Eagle Heights Wildlife Park in Eynesford , Kent.  A ‘Barn Owl’, an ‘American Bald Eagle’, a ‘Harris Hawk’ and a ‘Peregrine Falcon’ all flew around the school hall, and taught the children about food chains, adaptation, flight, habitat and sustainability.

The children were particularly impressed with the American bald eagle whose wingspan nearly filled the hall and the way she confidently walked across the hall  but we also loved the barn owl who decided to explore the roof of the hall and would not come back the birdman, even when tempted with ‘mouse’ treats.

A Material World with Mark Miodownik

Mark Miodownik is a Professor of Materials and Society at UCL.  Years 3 and 4 felt extremely lucky to spend an hour with Mark this morning as he told the children about the amazing inner world of different materials, as can be seen through a microscope. Mark showed the children their skin, hair and their clothes, all up close on his microscope . Year 3 and 4 learnt about the different structures that materials have, when seen up close – everyone was fascinated!

According the Year 3 and 4, their favourite part was when they were all given a small chocolate egg and were told to suck but not chew it. Mark revealed that the egg should feel cool and this is a result of the cocoa butter which is made up of crystals which then release the sugars in the chocolate. Later on, Mark showed how properties of materials can change by heating up a brick with blow torch and showing everyone how it changed colour. So many children were excited by this science and were overheard saying they wanted to have a job like Mark ‘when they grow up’ .

Thank you so much Mark – you have been really inspiring!

Have a look at Mark’s website and especially his Royal Institution Christmas Lectures