Redland Green School

RGS Bristol

Making it real for learners: data-logging brings science to life

“Well, that’s not supposed to happen, is it?”

A question that typifies the reactions of a group of Year 8 students, testing their hypotheses to how the body responds to certain situations. Before the class linked themselves up to a variety of heart monitors and temperature probes, they had been challenged to come up with a range of predictions that they were to test. It is a confident group, so they were convinced they were going to be right. 

One particular brave student, was certain that his core temperature would shoot up if he jogged on the spot whilst wearing the assorted blazers of his classmates, a hat, a scarf, and a lab coat for good measure. He was proved wrong. All around the class, students were discovering first-hand that they had wrongly predicted how their body would react. What was important about this, was that they didn’t mind being proven wrong, because they genuinely believed in the validity of their experiment. This focused the class discussion more sharply on the possible reasons why their bodies were reacting unexpectedly, and served to underline a key learning point from the lesson. Being able to quickly collect and interpret the data from their experiment helped keep the pace of the lesson brisk. The fact that the data was real, and about them in person, added to the strength of the evidence. As one of the girls explained, “You can see it actually happening to you, so you believe it more”. A successful learning experience for all! 

How did the room come to exist

This is an example of the work now being carried out in the newly-created data-logging room. Thanks to the financial support of parents/carers, Friends of Redland Green School, local organisations and The Schools Network [formerly the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust], students can now learn science in a more engaging way, using new technology to enhance their experiments.

A key part of our bid for specialist science status centred on being able to conduct more relevant experiments to secure better learning for our students. The room is shared between the science and mathematics curriculum areas and was designed to meet the specific needs of each.

For science, a key driver was the opportunity to experience more lessons where data-logging is a focus. For mathematics, the focus was on enabling students to become more independent in their learning. The room is flexible enough to deliver for both areas.

Ms Bott, Curriculum Team Leader for science, is delighted with the new resource to support learning: “We are enjoying developing our work with data-logging. Students can conduct experiments and record them instantly with the new kit. It opens up a wide range of possibilities for us”.

Mr Evans, Curriculum Team Leader for mathematics, is enjoying seeing how students are engaging with the new ICT suite: “Students can access their learning much more independently, and really challenge themselves”.