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A reflection on how to get an A* and Top in China for IGCSE Biology

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One of our students Elkie Chan achieved the Top mark in China in the June 2017 IGCSE Biology examination.

He was presented with an Outstanding Cambridge Learner Award at a recent ceremony in Shanghai.

After the ceremony, Elkie took some time to reflect on this fantastic achievement and shared this reflection. I have shared it with the current grade 12 IBDP and grade 10 IGCSE Biology students.

The magic formula as ever is sustained hard work, regular review, focusing on your mistakes and the use of effective revision strategies.

It may not sound especially ground breaking but it works!

“Biology is a subject that requires conceptual understanding as well as some memorisation of knowledge. However, at IGCSE level, it is most important to understand the chain of reasoning for every answer, best by taking time to understand a concept instead of rushing it.

In class, we were taught in a well-structured way and it was fun as well as engaging. The activities enriched our experience. While the lessons were delivered engagingly, the resources taught key points without skipping any parts of the syllabus.

Furthermore, you should pay attention to the end of topic tests and try to improve every time. Thus, to succeed in the subject, you will need to allow yourself to understand the concept fully, and then follow your own method to practice the answer i.e flash card, writing, speaking out loud. If you repeat again and again across all chapters, you are most likely to do well.

Then, to achieve A*, you should review and try to memorise diagrams, labelling, as well as definitions. In order to do even better, you should not concede any points for MCQ or short-answer questions, although an element of luck is also involved!

I would like to thank my Biology teachers and my parents for always supporting me.”

 

Constructing a Mesocosm

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This week the grade 12 biologists constructed a closed hopefully sustainable ecosystem in a bottle. 

We discussed what is required for a sustainable ecosystem including the role of autotrophs, hetrotrophs, detritivores and saprotrophs.

The students made their model ecosystem known as a mesocosm from two water bottles, soil, gravel, a selection of aquatic and terrestrial plants, and invertebrates. 

We will follow the growth and the development of the Mesocosms over the next few months. It is hoped they will continue as sustainable ecosystems until the students finish their last IBDP Biology exam! 

Its that time of year again…The Double Helix Science Club

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The Double Helix Science Club is for young and inspiring scientists to explore science beyond our G7&8 science curriculum. It is for students that may have an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) careers and for those that just what to do more hands on experiments.

The students will look at biology from the inside out by carrying out a frog dissection, make elephant toothpaste with chemistry and reach for the stars with bicarbonate rockets in physics.

 

When ASP Season 2  Mondays (different from day stated in video)

Max: 20  grade 7 &8 students 

Plus  2 or 3 grade 9-11 Sciecne Club Assistants

 

Please contact Mr. Gaynor for more information 

 

Welcome back to Senior School Science

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The Senior School Science Department extends a warm welcome to all returning and new students. We hope all students are well rested over the summer holiday and are excited about another inquisitive year learning Science.

We have been busy planning lessons, experiments, after school programmes and the Science Fair for the year ahead.

If you have any questions about this academic year please contact your child’s Science teacher or Mr. Gaynor: Head of the Senior School Science Department.

End of Year Exams: Review and Reflection Time.

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DIRT info for newsletter

The most important part of the end of year exams is the time spent reviewing what went well and what students, and teachers can do to correct the gaps in the students understanding . Essentially closing the gaps in our students knowledge so they don’t make the same mistake again. 

This week we will spend most of the time in lessons reviewing the end of year exams and reflecting on our learning. SG

Creating whiteboard summary flashcards for end of year revision

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This week the grade 11 biologists made whiteboard summary flashcards on all subtopics studied this year. All the summaries were photographed and shared with the class. Students can review the pictures ona regular basis and test themselves on the content. This should help them prepare for the final end of year exams starting on Friday. SG






Immune System whiteboard Animation Videos

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The grade 9 biologists have started revision for the end of year exams. This week we reviewed the. Immune system by rewatching the whiteboard animation videos the students made earlier this year. 

Introducing the Group 4 Project theme: Bad Science

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This year’s theme is Bad Science. To introduce this theme to the students the science department set up a number of stations highlighting everyday examples of Bad Science. Students moved station to station considering how each one was example of bad science and why many people believe it. The stations explored homeopathy, autism and vaccines, blood groups and personality, bad science in the media, climate change denial, everyday radiation levels, the science of successful names and the science behind food and health. 

The students were engaged and asked a number of thoughtful questions. They are well prepared to choose their own bad science topic and investigate it in detail. They will have 10 hours to work collaboratively on their topic and present their findngs to rest of grade 11. This implementation and presentation part of the group 4 project is scheduled for 15th and 16th June. 
 

Creating a dichotomous key to identify Grade 11 biologists shoes

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To model the use of dichotomous keys to identify closely related organisms in Biology; lhe grade level students created a key to identify their shoes. They focused on the clear physical characteristics which could be used to separate the pile of shoes. Once the key was complete everyone was happy to get their shoes back! The students then created a key to identify some closely related insect species.

Modelling Evolution through Natural Selection

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The grade 11 biologists followed up their research on the evidence for evolution by modelling Darwins theory of natural selection. They used different shaped tweezers, spatulas and test tube tongs to act as different beaks. They then competed for different food sources like rubber bands, paperclips, and rice grains the students understood the importance of variation in a population and how competition due to environmental selection pressure can lead to evolution. 

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