Celebrating our diverse planet | Portsmouth High School

Celebrating our diverse planet

British Science Week is an opportunity for us to embrace everything to do with science and this year’s theme is an excellent one,

Our diverse Planet: From our amazing environments to everything living within them, it’s time to celebrate our diversity, 6th – 15th March 2020. #BSW20

In assembly this week we are highlighting the four main opportunities to get involved:

  • Smashing stereotypes
  • Citizen science
  • Poster competition
  • Activities

Smashing stereotypes

When we were young and envisaged a scientist, did we not immortalise the white aging male with wild white hair and effervescing test tubes?  Not today.  Today we are helped by International women’s day, celebrated 8th March to focus on an equal world, to celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias, act for equality and remember an equal world is an enabled world.

To this end, British Science Week also embraces this, to celebrate the diverse people and careers in science and engineering: The aim is to encourage STEM employees and researchers to share their stories about what they do in their day-to-day work – to highlight the diversity of the STEM workforce, the broad range of jobs and careers available, and that scientists are just like other people. #EverydayScientist

Citizen Science

The importance of biodiversity needs to be publicised.  We know the rate of extinction of endangered animals is increasing and has not been this high since the extinction of the dinosaurs.  We need to focus on ecosystems in crisis.  Specifically, by understanding ecosystems, we may begin to understand and help save endangered animals.

Zooniverse is a phenomenal tool that enables researchers to ask the public for help in vast amounts of data analysis.  Not only have extra-terrestrial planets been discovered, we have also helped tag 1.5 million pieces of plastic, spotted penguins and transcribed weather reports.

It is now time to save the spider monkeys. Analysing data from drones enables us to study large areas quickly without harming the wildlife habitat. By doing this we can help researchers to create an A.I. algorithm to develop an autonomous species tracker which could in the future help tackle the threat of habitat loss and deforestation. Through the destruction of tropical forests, we risk our own quality of life, gamble with the stability of climate and local weather, threaten the existence of other species, and undermine the valuable services provided by biological diversity.

Poster competition

At Portsmouth High School we feel it is vital to provide opportunities for pupils to express themselves and be a part of their own future.  By highlighting the Our Diverse Planet poster competition, it encourages pupils to carry out their own research to stretch their academic excellence, breadth of extra-curricular knowledge as well as to embrace their artistic endeavour.  Such examples for the poster competition include:

  • Biodiversity: From the diversity in your own garden, to the diversity at the very bottom of the ocean
  • The diversity of science and STEM subjects
  • Diversity of human tastes, cultures, cities and atoms
  • Planet diversity amongst our solar system and the universe

Activities

To raise awareness of British Science Week 2020, Our Diverse Planet, we have incorporated the theme in a set of lunchtime activities within the science department:

Monday – Wildfires – Writing with fire

Diverse habitats: The forest fires in Australia have been devastating for wildlife and habitats.  Their land is so different to our own and that of our pupils.

Tuesday – House Science Quiz

Diverse People: All good STEM practice requires collaboration; the ability to work with others effectively, even when you may not necessarily see eye to eye. This fun quiz embraces the diversity of our own pupils, their learning at various stages of their science careers and encouraging teamwork of diverse characters to work effectively together.

Tuesday/Wednesday: Rat Dissection and Medics Club

Diverse Species: We want to encourage the next veterinarians and doctors, as well as the ever-inquisitive pupil.  The similarities and differences in our bodies to those species also sharing the planet are exceptional and in these master classes pupils get an introduction.

Wednesday: Our Planet – Movie appreciation with Sir David Attenborough

Our diverse planet: What better way to appreciate our phenomenal planet than by being inspired by Sir David Attenborough and his award-winning series, The Blue Planet.

Thursday: Preserving Natural Diversity – Make it at home BATH BOMBS

In this activity pupils will investigate how to make their own bath bomb. We can all support the diversity of our planet by using less packaging including single-use materials. By designing our own bath bomb, we could also find a way to cut down on the packaging required and encourage others to make their own bath bombs.

Friday: Melting Polar Cap? – No! Just sorbet today

A treat for the end of the week. Not only highlighting the need for us to save our planet and reduce global warming, but to try a new way of making instant sorbet with chemistry knowledge and a little fruit and sugar ….

We are celebrating British Science Week with focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, featuring entertaining and engaging events to stimulate and support pupils to inspire the next generation.