Rolls Royce Science Project

Rolls Royce Award Finalists 2018

Acle Academy are delighted to celebrate being a finalist in the Rolls Royce 2018 Science competition. From over 2000 entries, Acle Academy was shortlisted to be one of six schools (and the only secondary school) nationally to become a finalist in this prestigious competition. Our Science and Maths team have recently celebrated this achievement by visiting the Rolls Royce factory and heritage centre in Derby and participating in the Rolls Royce Science Prize held at the National Science Museum in London. 

For two years our Science and Maths colleagues have worked together on a project to support learning in both subjects.  The project was called MISOSIM? (Maths in Science or Science in Maths?)

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The overall aim of the project was to improve the students’ use of Maths skills within Science lessons and to improve their understanding in Maths by then being able to apply their skills to scientific examples. The project also aimed to improve the pedagogy of all Maths and Science teachers, through peer observation, joint planning and team teaching.

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The team, led by Helen Banfill, realised that the application of Maths in Science had increased in complexity within the new Science GCSE specifications, with the increased demand on the students’ Maths skills and the weighting of the final exam marks (15% of marks from maths based questions). On discussion with the Maths department, it was clear that they also had an increased demand at GCSE, in their case with the need for students to be able to apply their skills in a range of situations.

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It quickly became apparent that the Maths and Science departments approached the teaching of some Maths skills very differently, for example when drawing graphs, a line of best fit in Maths is always straight, whereas in Science it can be a curve! As a result, the first aim was to carry out a number of peer observations across the departments, looking at particular shared areas of concern (graphs, algebra, ratios for example) so that the team could create a shared vocabulary for use with the students, teaching similar strategies and using common examples. The team used a variety of strategies to achieve this through the year from the standard peer observation model, the lesson study model and also by using video recording of lessons to share. By the end of the year the team produced a booklet of common vocabulary, lesson plans and examples for use by teachers in both departments in the future.

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As both departments teach Motion and Speed to year 9s, they decided to develop and deliver a collaborative unit of work. The team jointly planned lessons which can be taught by both Maths and Science teachers, using a range of teaching strategies and styles. Students benefitted greatly by  being able to make links between the two subjects and transferring skills from one area of the curriculum to the other with increased proficiency. 

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We are very proud of the achievements of our colleagues who have found that working together and sharing approaches can have a direct link on student progress. Our colleagues Helen Banfill, Karin Gibbons and Martin Freeman celebrated the work of the team at the Awards Ceremony in London where they presented the project and answered questions for industry leaders and MP’s. 

We are delighted with the success of this project and look forward to these shared methods continuing to benefit our students.

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