Student takeover: UCL Academy pulls out all stops to mark British Science Week

PUBLISHED: 16:45 21 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:36 22 March 2018

Science week at UCL Academy. Photos by Filimon Okbay

Science week at UCL Academy. Photos by Filimon Okbay


A school has pulled out all the stops to champion all things scientific.

Science week at UCL Academy. Photos by Filimon OkbayScience week at UCL Academy. Photos by Filimon Okbay

To mark British Science Week, the 10-day yearly national awareness campaign which finished on Monday, UCL Academy had put on a host of activities for current and visiting students.

The Swiss Cottage school is a STEM specialist school, meaning they focus on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Some of the academy’s activities have also involved Camden’s primary schools, and included a STEM careers breakfast for early years students, an evening diversity in STEM event, and to wrap up a STEM fair on Friday that gave students the opportunity to enter an independent piece of independent research based on the broad brief ‘exploration and discovery’.

This was assessed by a panel of judges, including Lucie Green, the science communicator who has just been appointed chair of governors at the school.

Science week at UCL Academy. Photos by Filimon OkbayScience week at UCL Academy. Photos by Filimon Okbay

The winners were Asmaa Haddadi from Year 7, Temuujin Natsagnyan from Year 12, and Kristina from Year 9.’

“I think it was really fun because we don’t usually just build anything we want to build,” said Kristina on the competition.

“This week has been a wonderful experience,’ said Asmaa, while Year 8 student Iola Tartan said: “I have definitely enjoyed this week.”

Students from all year groups had work entered and on display and pupils milled around the fair, looking and interacting with others work.

Mark Blagrove, professor of psychology and director of the sleep lab at Swansea and doctor Julia Lockheart who is a senior lecturer at the Swansea College.Mark Blagrove, professor of psychology and director of the sleep lab at Swansea and doctor Julia Lockheart who is a senior lecturer at the Swansea College.

Parents were also invited to see their children’s work.

“The STEM fair is our students’ opportunity for excellence,” said Kate Barry, the head of STEM of at the academy.

“They had the chance to stretch themselves above and beyond the taught curriculum.”

Prof Green, was well placed on the judging panel as a professor of physics and a Royal Society University research fellow based at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory and in UCL’s department of space and climate, physics and studies activity in the atmosphere of the Sun.

She also sits on the advisory board for the Science Museum and is chief stargazer at the Society for Popular Astronomy.

Prof Green believes it vital that primary school students are taught STEM subjects early.

“It is never too early to be exploring the world around you.

“Children do that naturally throughout their childhood through play and it is important that we build on this in schools today to show how STEM subjects have shaped our societies and allowed us to answer very big questions about the universe, for example.

“Introducing children to STEM subjects early means that they are able to experience the enjoyment of asking questions and discovering new things for themselves, and it ensures that they are then ready to make informed decisions in secondary school about which subjects to pursue at GCSE, A-level and beyond.”

On Sunday, the Freud Museum got in on the action by hosting an art and science collaboration with DreamID.

Psychologist Sigmund Freud believed that studying dreams provided the easiest road to understanding the unconscious activities of the mind.

He revolutionised the study of dreams with his work, The Interpretation of Dreams.

The event at the museum was led by Mark Blagrove who is a professor of psychology and director of the Sleep Lab at Swansea and Dr Julia Lockheart, a senior lecturer at the Swansea College.

The duo work together to explore and illustrate people’s dreams.

Dr Lockheart’s art helps bring the dream to life so that they can look back and remember the discussion.

“This has been really quite insightful for people,” Mr Blagrove said.

“They have had a sort of ‘aha!’ experiences.”

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