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Science Week: sustainable development—more than just a slogan

05 Dec 2019

The second science week at Huili School Shanghai, is based on the theme of 'sustainable development', took place between 25 to 29 November.

In September 2015, the United Nations put forward 17 sustainable development goals which attracted global attention. To support and promote this initiative, we hope that this year’s science week has helped our pupils to gain a better understanding of the ecological challenges that Earth is facing, while learning how to resolve these problems by taking an inclusive and positive attitude. Considering the varying cognition and understanding level of our pupils, we designed all manner of activities to meet their requirements, including our Mini Museum, Science Exhibition, Science Show and ‘Science Bowl’ house competition.   Mini Museum This popup museum displays the achievements of our pupils in grades 3 to 5. When you visit, you’ll find an abundance of scientific collections which will amaze you. You can see collages of ‘the lifecycle of butterflies and frogs’ and various ‘ecosystem models’; you can receive ‘daily healthy diet’ suggestions recommended by our little nutritionists; you also have the chance to enjoy lively ‘plants-themed posters’ as well as the creative ‘skeleton puppets’.

Setting up this mini museum gave our pupils the opportunity to reflect on the scientific knowledge that they acquired and put it into practice. Meanwhile, it also nurtured their love for science through fun and engaging activities.   Science Exhibition The science exhibition is now a favoured traditional event of Huili science week. As the first lesson taught to grade 6 at the beginning of the semester was based around ‘scientific inquiry’, our science exhibition offered opportunities for every pupil to apply this method to whatever projects that they chose.

The exhibition was open to the entire Huili community. Teachers, pupils, or ardent parents, everyone was invited to participate.

Pupils’ projects became a manifestation of their solid subject knowledge as well as their rich sense of imagination. For example, in order to explore the force of magnetism of a magnet under different temperatures, pupils put the magnet in liquid nitrogen to create the required microthermal condition. They soaked eggs in various drinks to study the extent of erosion of teeth caused by unhealthy drinks’ ingredients. For the purpose of calculating calories in snacks, they ignited said snacks placed on asbestos wire gauze, whose heat was used to boil water in the test tube. They measured oxygen content in water volumes of varying temperatures by using a dissolved oxygen meter to find the most appropriate temperature for fish breeding.

During the three science exhibitions, we were all highly impressed by our pupils, who displayed great confidence and took pride in their work, as they explained their ideas and thoughts to visitors in a patient and meticulous way.   Science Show Grade 7 pupils delivered an amazingly wonderful ‘science show’ to their peers. In early October, pupils of grade 6 and 7 were guided by their teachers to watch the Drama Desk Award winner — ‘That Physics Show’. They were all attracted by the engaging performances while actively participating in the show. When they came back, they aspired to prepare an excellent science show for pupils in the lower grades. Eventually, they demonstrated quite a few creative experiments by applying what they had learned in class. The following questions and more were deftly answered:

Can we make music with wine glasses? What would the world be like if there was no friction? How do we put an egg that is larger than the diameter of a bottleneck through the bottle and take it out, whole and unbroken? What happens to the properties of materials at extremely low temperatures?

During the demonstration, grade 7 pupils showed younger pupils how they decoded the principles of these experiments, leading them to get a glimpse of the inspiring wonderland that is science. Science Bowl Science bowl is our science-based competition where every house chose their representatives to strive for the second awarding of the coveted ‘science bowl’ trophy. The competition topic was closely related to our theme  of sustainable development. Pupils need to possess a global view to tackle international challenges that the global human community is faced with, meanwhile, they also had to consider how to make a better future by doing deeds based on improving the local community. In the end, Li house rose to the top and won the second science bowl trophy.   Sustainable Development The theme-based activities of our second science week were designed to instill a sense of responsibility of ‘caring for the world’ in pupils’ minds, enabling them to gain a deep understanding of the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations. Achieving sustainable development relies on everyone on the Earth who has a responsible and inclusive attitude to do their part. This also aligns with the Huili Values and Identity, which are already embedded in our daily routines. To highlight some of those recent actions, pupils, who went on field trips have voluntarily sorted their rubbish after lunch. Our art department continually uses waste materials for art project creation purposes and reuses single-sided printing paper. We recently held an eco-sticker design competition to remind people to turn off lights, air conditioners and TV screens when they leave their classrooms. We now call on all the staff to use stairs rather than the lifts when they only go up one floor. All these actions will make a difference, helping to save energy and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide as sustainable development is more than just a slogan.

We expect our Huili pupils, parents and staff, with their determination and practical actions, to help build an eco-friendly world for us all.