We asked the class to round off this half-term’s science project by reflecting on what they felt they had learned about science. Here are some of the extremely interesting and thoughtful responses.
Sylvie wrote: ‘I have learned that science isn’t about the teacher knowing the answer to the question – it should be about the children finding out for themselves. It is about trying something new, combining as much information as you can from other scientists, then putting it together into a new experiment. Use what you know. Ask the questions that can be useful. Change the world for good. But it’s not just about the bigness of changing the world in enormous ways. You should also do small experiments that add up to a better understanding of the world.’
Sylvie captures the spirit of scientific enquiry – but using science to change the world for good is a great point too (and not one that we much discussed). Microbiology, as many other areas of science, has so much potential for both good and harm. Nina said that ‘Science gives us power over our surroundings’ and Zeca that ‘Science is basically everything. It’s like the future.’ So we must surely want young scientists to give thought to the purpose and goals of science at the same time as generating new knowledge.
Patrick said, ‘I learnt to think like a scientist.’ Caspar, ‘Ask lots of questions and don’t hold back.’ Archie said: ‘I have learned that in science you can’t really do an experiment once because the results sometimes vary… Science is about doing experiments and finding out new stuff about the world by asking questions.’
Eleanor compared science to a large experiment with endless possibilities. Mohammed said something similar: ‘What I like about science is that there is always a new and better experiment.’ And Jim came up with a great idea for continuing his team’s experiment, which was to use yeast to generate CO2 and then use this to see whether mould will grow on bread in an atmosphere of CO2 or whether it needs oxygen.