Children will be bringing extra spark to lessons after their school became the first primary in the city to have a dedicated science lab.
The facilities at St Maria Goretti Catholic Academy, in Bentilee , include resources for experiments, a microscope, magnifying glasses and even an anatomical face and skulls.
Pupils can also get stuck into a range of other investigative work to learn about everything from liquids and solids through to light refraction and electricity.
The ‘phiz lab’, which has been kitted out with tables and stools, has been partly funded by a £2,500 grant from The Ogden Trust. It will now be used on a weekly basis with every class, including four and five-year-olds.
Science leader Emily Royall said: “I’m trying to involve parents in lessons as well. We want to inspire the children to think about science, technology, engineering and maths-related careers.”
The lab – based in a former community room – was officially opened this week and has already proved popular.
Nine-year-old pupil Victoria Sarosiek, from Bentilee, said: “I feel like a proper scientist wearing a lab coat. It’s exciting. The lab is really good.”
Classmate Jamie Kettle has also been enjoying the science activities. The 10-year-old, from Bentilee, said: “My favourite one so far has been identifying fingerprints.”
The specialist facilities will be used by other schools in Stoke-on-Trent too. And it will also act as a base for training sessions for primary teachers.
It comes on the back of national concerns about the variable quality of primary science lessons. Some teachers lack confidence to deliver the subject and few primaries have specialist equipment.
Miss Royall, who has become a science ‘influencer’ for the city, added: “The key thing is to get children to lead their own learning. It’s important for them to have a question to investigate, rather than just saying ‘this is what we are going to do’.”
The lab is next to a ‘raspberry café’, where pupils can take part in a coding club and use raspberry pi micro-computers supplied by the company UK Fast.
Nine-year-old Harry Kirkham, from Moss Green, said: “Science is interesting. It’s the stuff you do with it. It’s not just about potions. Everything revolves around science.”
The Ogden Trust, which aims to inspire more young people to study physics, recently set up a partnership with Keele University and six local schools, including St Maria Goretti.
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Programme manager Kirstin Greygoose said: “This is the 27 phiz lab we’ve funded and the first in the whole of Staffordshire.
“The idea is to develop a dedicated science learning space so children feel it’s a really important subject. It also supports the transition from primary to secondary, so it’s not such a shock to their system.”
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