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Dragons and Slingshots at BISS

08 June 2017

After the cerebral encounters of exams last week, our students have taken on a series of new challenges during this week.

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For many, the first part of the week has involved feedback on performance in the exams.  Whilst it is always natural to look at the grade or percentage achieved, we do focus in lessons at reviewing exam performance, so that students can see where their strengths lie and where they have room for further improvement.  It is also a good barometer for how well their revision strategies have worked and I encourage them to reflect upon where they have achieved well and see if they spot any links between high performance and revision techniques.  They can then take these ones forward with them in the next test that they take.  They’ll continue to review and receive feedback in the coming week.

This week has seen a number of different events take place in the school that have challenged the students in a different way.  Our Year 10 students have participated in their very own ‘Dragons’ Den’.  For those of you unfamiliar with this programme, it’s all about students collaborating in business teams to design a new product and present it to the ‘Dragons’ in a short pitch at the end of the project.  They have been given a series of challenges to complete that will be very familiar to the business world – they began with market research; questioning parents, students and staff around a proposed product.  This was followed by creating their actual designs, as well as, a pricing strategy.  They also needed to demonstrate that their business was environmentally aware through designing their own environmental policy.  In terms of advertising, students imaginatively made their own short films, animations and flyers to show us all just how good their products were.  Tomorrow (Friday), they will enter the ‘Dragons’ Den’ itself to make their pitches to the ‘Dragons’ and be judged on their performances in different categories. Well done to all of the students for their excellent levels of commitment and participation in this very special Year 10 event.

On Wednesday, our Year 7-10 students enjoyed a glorious Sports Day.  On a rain-threatened day, it was a relief in the morning to be able to start and enjoy the atmosphere of celebration and support, as all of our students participated in events throughout the morning or afternoon.  There were some tremendous personal achievements in both field and track events, and all of the students were cheered on by an appreciative crowd, including students, parents and teachers.  The relay teams were well drilled and smooth baton handovers meant thrilling races to spectate and to cheer on friends.  Coupled with energy boosting snacks from the PTA – (thank you very much) – it ensured that all within the community had an enjoyable day.  Thank you to all of the student leaders for helping in the organisation of the event and for all of the pupils taking part in the day – they should be proud of themselves.

Elsewhere in the school, students in Year 12 have been preparing for their Science Internal Assessments.  This forms part of their final exam grade in Biology, Chemistry or Physics within the IB Diploma Programme.  They spent today creating and testing hypotheses in the science laboratories and are busy preparing their findings for their Group 4 presentation event on Thursday 15 June, from 1700-1830.   Year 12 students were also challenged on Wednesday, as Geography students prepared for their upcoming residential trip to Phnom Penh.  This involved practising different urban fieldwork techniques in downtown Shanghai, to ensure that when they are in Cambodia itself, they will be confident in carrying out their research.

Our Key Stage 3 students have enjoyed STEAM days this week, as they have taken part in a series of challenges that help them to understand the principles behind design-thinking through some exciting activities.  Working with pupils from different year groups, pupils have experienced STEAM challenges, including programming model vehicles to follow laps around circuits accurately; creating sling shots to accurately hit target areas; designing and building wind turbines and code-breaking using programming language.  All of these activities involve collaboration, critical thinking, evaluation and review – and of course creativity.  We’ve seen this in abundance from our Key Stage 3 students throughout the week.

We have our Activities Week approaching and there are a lot more events taking place in the next three weeks, so please check the calendar carefully for details.   This Saturday sees our Garden Party taking place at BISS, with the theme of ‘Flower Power’ – please click here for more details.  Finally, if you haven’t yet ordered your copy of our Secondary Yearbook, I’d urge you to do so as soon as possible – the details for ordering them can be found here.

Andrew Lancaster, Head of Secondary