Biology at the University of Warwick
July 2019: Ten of the Year 12 Biology students went to a lab experience day at the University of Warwick, accompanied by Dr Brodey and Ms Drozynska. When they arrived, students had the opportunity to chat to current undergraduates about university life at Warwick. They then went to a large lecture theatre for a talk about studying Biology at University, and the career paths that this can lead to. Next, they were introduced to the practical task for the day, which was investigating the switching on of a gene in the bacterium E. coli (one of the undergraduate experiments they do on the Warwick Biology course). The students were then taken to the teaching labs to carry out the practical and analyse the results. Although initially unsure about using some of the items of lab equipment that they had never encountered before (including precision pipettes and spectrophotometers), the students from our school were soon confidently working in the lab to induce the bacteria to express the gene and then testing for the expression of this gene using a colorimetric substrate.
It was an enjoyable day out, giving them an insight into science at university, and an opportunity to practise laboratory skills, including analysing their results and plotting graphs, as well as introducing them to the topic of control of gene expression which they will cover in their Year 13 course.
NASA students’ rocket building workshop at Hill View
On Monday 29th April our NASA sixth formers delivered an exciting rocket building workshop at Hill View Primary school. Toben, Callum, Sonja and Jonathan all worked together with a group of 25 primary students ranging from year 3 up to year 5. The students then fired their rockets off across their playing field. The Nasa sixth formers gave a talk about their experiences in America including Mission Control at Houston Space Centre and their VIP tour of the NASA Kennedy Space Centre. The visit ended with a very exciting Q and A session where the primary students were quizzing the sixth formers on all things “ spacey”.
No Limits Curriculum
Ten pupils from Banbury Aspirations Campus Sixth Form went down to Space Studio West London to trial the new No Limits curriculum project to design a game.
The project introduces the concepts of Analysis, Design and Marketing. Our teams worked well and the Bee team won the prize having designed and played a game in just a few hours.
“We found this trip really fulfilling as we believe it assisted us with our ongoing AEP project about the environment.
We also feel that even though we won, the fact that the message we were trying to get across was recognised and appreciated meant more to us than winning the project itself ” Louise
University & Apprenticeship Fair – Milton Keynes Arena
8 March: I thought the trip was inspirational. It finally helped me decide what career I wanted to go into and what universities were best fitted towards it. I really enjoyed learning about all the opportunities there are and would love another similar trip soon.
Kelly, Sixth Form student
Science Week NASA Assembly
On their return, the four Sixth Form students shared their experiences of their recent trip to NASA with a room full of curious young minds at Harriers Banbury Academy, as part of their Science Week activities. Read more here
NASA trip of a lifetime
February 2019: Toben, Soniya, Callum and Jonathan accompanied by Mr Sterland, had a wonderful trip and experienced what it is like to be working at the frontier of science, and to meet the engineers, scientists and astronauts who will take humanity to the moon, Mars and beyond.
Through reflecting on past successes and failures and looking to the future technologies the study visit will hopefully inspire the participants into reaching for the stars and being part of this new mission of exploration.
The participants were expected to record the experience through diaries and images to allow them to share it with a wider community whilst in America and on their return. Read their reports and see their video here
NASA trip of a lifetime
Four very lucky students from Banbury Aspirations Campus Sixth Form have earned the opportunity to visit NASA in America. They take off on 13th February and return on 22nd February. Read their impressions of the selection process here
Year 13 Biology – Science Live
January 2019: Four of the Year 13 Biology students came with me to Birmingham to attend an A-level Biology day called Science Live. We heard talks by eminent scientists including human fertility specialist Professor Robert Winston, research geneticist Professor Steve Jones, and science writer Dr Ben Goldacre. We heard fascinating talks about memory formation, eugenics, antibiotic resistance, the evolution of humans and the misuse of statistics.
In addition there were talks from an examiner, telling the students about common pitfalls in exam technique, and suggesting the best ways to approach revision.
The students found it interesting and informative, with lots of ideas from experts to make them think about real applications of Biology.
Dr Mary Brodey, Biology teacher
Sixth Form Students at the Houses of Parliament
26 November: A small group of Wykham Park Academy Sixth Form students were invited to London for a tour of the Houses of Parliament. The students were shown around all parts of this historic building including Westminster Hall, The House of Commons, The House of Lords and The Royal Robing Room. After the tour the students met with their local MP for North Oxfordshire, Victoria Prentis, for a brief insight into the life of an MP and what it means to play a key role in the UK’s democratic process. Victoria also answered questions put to her by the students on a range of local and national issues. The Horton hospital was discussed as well as school funding, Banbury Magistrates Court, criminal justice for youth offenders and even the prospect of a Nandos finding its way to Banbury soon!
The participating students (and teachers) would like to publicly thank Victoria for her time and for her unique insight into our democratic system.
Read Victoria’s tweet here: https://twitter.com/VictoriaPrentis/status/1067042618239004672
Safe Drive Stay Alive
22 November: Year 13 students attended the Safe Drive Stay Alive event in Oxford. The Safe Drive Stay Alive campaign reaches new and pre-drivers in an emotive and hard-hitting way, influencing behaviour and attitude on the roads. The event is a firm fixture in the Sixth Form curriculum and we are thankful to Thames Valley and Hampshire Police, local councils and emergency services for running the event.
Year 12 What Career, What Uni? Event
12 October: Our Sixth Form students experienced What Career Live in London. The event enabled students to gain information about their future through workshops, talks, one-to-one advice and stalls from various universities and employers. One of our sixth formers said:
“This was a really good event to be at and a great opportunity to talk to universities and apprentices; they gave me a helpful idea of what different places offer. I recommend it to any sixth
form student who’s unsure about what to do after A levels”.