SAW - Science, Art and Writing ™

SAW in the classroom during 2009

Norfolk County Council SAW initiative – 2009 - 10

Following the success of the SAW projects last year taking research science into schools, SAW was approached by Norfolk County Council to run a further series of SAW projects in 21 Norfolk schools. With support from the John Innes Foundation, the projects ran from September 2009 to April 2010 and involved scientists from the University of East Anglia, the John Innes Centre, and the Institute for Food Research. Scientists from many different disciplines took part - biological sciences, medicine, environmental science, chemistry, pharmacy, and more. Topics covered included bubbles and drops, space, blood, the heart, plankton and the food web, microorganisms, colours, food structure and vitamins. See details of the projects, an example project, feedback from those who took part and Norfolk County Council’s assessment.

See photos, poetry and artwork from this project

Morley CE Primary School, Norfolk – November 2009

This SAW project with 10 to 11 year olds focussed on plant compounds and their links with human health. Teacher Sally O’ Dell worked with scientists Jenni Rant and Jo Makepeace, poet Anna Reckin and artist Liz McGowan to explore vitamins and how and why they are produced by plants. The children measured the levels of vitamin C in lime, lemon, orange, kiwi, grape, red pepper, strawberry, concentrated orange juice and a vitamin C tablet and worked out which of these had the highest and the lowest vitamin C content. The results were very different to what they’d expected! They then explored natural objects like plants, pinecones, shells, dried leaves and lemon segments blindfold to help them use all their senses to describe these objects for the writing exercise. The children worked in small groups to make collages inspired by the morning’s work, and were encouraged to become part of the collage themselves, to represent how all living things are connected.

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Hollingworth Primary and Nursery School, Tameside – November 2009

Enterprising teachers in Tameside Christine Williams and Judith Willis contacted SAW for advice on running their own SAW project, with a view to sharing learnings throughout their area. They worked with scientists Natalie Lane and Karen Vernon-Parry, poet Helen Clare, artist Gina Cotton, and colleagues throughout the school to run a SAW project on the theme of ‘Water’ for a week in November 2009. Each year group worked on the project, using inspirational images and key words as starting points to explore bubbles, water drops on a feather, snowflakes, coral reefs, salt crystals, water droplets and pond skaters.

The children commented
“I liked science best in SAW week because it was fun”, “I liked that we made felt. I enjoyed the poet”, “SAW week was a fun week because it was a change from the normal lessons, and we also had fun while we learned.”

See photos, poetry and artwork from this project

See the PowerPoint presentation the teachers put together on ‘Running your own SAW project

Lionwood Infant School, Norwich – July 2009

This SAW project with 5 and 6 year olds centred on the way plants produce different compounds. Teacher Barbara Woodward worked with scientists Jenni Rant and Melissa Dokarry, writer Mike O’Driscoll and artist Chris Hann. The day began with a scientific investigation into how flowers are made up of different colours - a crash course in chromatography as the children examined how many pigments made up various colour flowers including beetroot, red cabbage, and fruits. They had great fun experimenting with the left over extracts by adding vinegar or bicarbonate soda solution to look for colour changes. Inspirational images were introduced during the science session and were subsequently used to stimulate writing, and a collage of flowers made from wax and ‘Brusho’ crystals on thick paper made for a colourful end to the day. The children were very proud of their work.

See photos, poetry and artwork from this project