Learning to Think Like a Scientist

February 18, 2019 at 3:51 PM

At the start of Year 7 at the Boys’ School, a new intake of boys from a variety of Auckland schools join our current cohort; as a result, a key focus for the first part of the year is the successful integration of all students, returning and new, into Senior School life. 

The Senior School programme in Year 7 &8 at Saint Kentigern is unique. With our commitment to excellence in teaching and learning, there is a complete focus on ensuring all our boys gain an excellent grounding in the core subject areas of English and Mathematics. To achieve this, there is greater time allocation made with ten lessons across our ten-day timetable. There is also significant time given to Science and Social Science with six lessons for each subject allocated. The remainder of our programme is made up of Christian Education, Physical Education, Languages and our Innovation Programme that offers a range of learning opportunities across the Performing and Creative Arts and Technology. 

In the Senior School, classes are mixed ability groups but most importantly, the timetable is specialised with different teachers teaching specialist subjects according to their specialised teaching strengths. This ensures our boys receive the very best education from teachers who have a deep understanding and passion for their subject. 

Science in Year 7 concentrates on developing scientific knowledge with each term focused on a different contextual strand of the Science curriculum: Biology, Physics, Earth Science and Chemistry. Taught by specialist science teachers, in the early weeks of the first term, attention is given to ‘learning to think like a scientist’ - developing an understanding that science stems from a combination of scientific knowledge and scientific skills. 

For many of the boys new to the Boys’ School in Year 7, this may be their first time in a specialised science laboratory and so early science classes provide an introductory overview to the lab, the apparatus and learning how to work safely, while they develop and practise their scientific measurement and recording skills. 

As the year progresses, they come to learn that science is a way of investigating, understanding, and explaining our natural, physical world and the wider universe. Opportunities will abound for them to hypothesise, generate and test ideas, gather evidence and discuss and record their results. 

But for now, the responsibility for lighting a Bunsen or spirit burner and understanding the safety implications for that at school made for a great introduction to specialised science teaching and learning early in Term 1! 


Master Plan Phase 1 developments 

During 2018, the Trust Board was pleased to confirm the Master Plan for significant development of new, purpose-built facilities, and enhancement of current facilities, on the Shore Road Campus. 

Part of this future planning includes the design of new Specialist facilities for the teaching and learning of specialist subjects taught by specialist teachers. The planned building will bring Science, Technology, and the Performing and Visual Arts under one roof, with teaching spaces for a wide variety of subjects from the sciences, music and drama, art, hard and soft materials, design and food technology. 

Preliminary Design for the building is anticipated to be completed by March 2019 and will be followed by the Developed Design phase of the project. Once Preliminary Design is completed, we will be able to share drawings of what these fantastic, exciting new facilities are likely to look like! 

We are aiming for completion of the Specialist classrooms by the start of Term 1, 2022, along with the completion of the new Senior Boys’ classrooms and the re-siting of the Girls’ School from Remuera Road to the lower level of the Shore Road Campus above Gate 5. 

The new Specialist facilities will be available to both the Boys’ School and the Girls’ School on a time-tabled basis, maintaining the integrity of Saint Kentigern’s commitment to single gender primary education. 

The new Specialist classrooms will provide outstanding facilities to maximise learning, foster creativity and innovation for all our primary students. We are all really looking forward to watching this become a reality!

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