SAW - Science, Art and Writing ™

SAW in the classroom during 2012

Tianyang Foundation and the Xuhui Education Bureau – Dec 2012

Last December SAW Trust made a landmark visit China to help the local children learn about Science, Art and Writing in our distincly creative way. We ran a mini SAW project on the theme of water which the workshop participants were able to observe.

“SAW Project has a great impact on traditional Chinese education philosophy. It gives an innovative approach to the young children, teachers and parents in understanding the science, art and writing. As a volunteer, I enjoyed it with the students very much.”
Bo Wang from the Reenway Group in Shanghai

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Wicklewood Primary School – Nov 2012

Year 5 teacher Simon Underhill was joined by artist Jenny Walsh ,as well as SAW’s writer Mike O’Driscoll and SAW’s scientist Jenni Rant to deliver a project on the theme of gases. Children explored the properties of gases through the periodic table and giant bubbles made from dry ice, before making gases through chemical reactions to become rocket scientists! Mike introduced the children to a famous poem on the theme of Oxygen by Roger McGough which inspired the children to write and perform their own gas-related poetry to the class. Jenny used the capturing and release of gas in balloons as the basis for the art activity where children decorated inflated balloons which were rapidly dried and popped to take on their final unique shapes. The balloons were threaded together with fairy lights to form a lovely display that was perfect for the festive season.

“can't thank you enough for such a fantastic day last Thursday. The children were absolutely buzzing on Friday - as was I! Thank you for all of your hard work and input into the day. It's amazing what you do! SAW embodies enquiry based learning - learning by doing!”
Simon Underhill

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Freethorpe Primary School – Nov 2012

Scientist Caroline Smith worked with storyteller Kelly Kanayama and artist Scott Johnson to design and deliver a SAW project on the theme of variation with teacher Juliette Branch’s class of children aged 5-7 years. Caroline’s research looks at how cells divide and the signals that stop them dividing so she designed an activity using Lego that enabled the children to explore cell division and growth. The children learnt that information is stored in cells, and they extracted DNA from bananas! Kelly captivated the children (and adults) with dynamic storytelling that incorporated the theme of variation using references to the appearance of different fruits, and Scott led an activity using printing techniques to create variation-themed art.

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Tunstead Primary School – Nov 2012

Teacher Sandy Watson worked with scientist Wiebke Apel, historian Danny Buck and artist Lara A’Court delivering a SAW project on the theme of photosynthesis to children in class 4. The children learnt about the chemical processes involved in photosynthesis before examining colour pigments and the movement of liquids through plant xylem channels. Danny inspired the children through poetry reading and brainstorming to produce plant-themed poems and Lara used some stunning images of plant structures under the microscope as the basis for art activities including batik, lentil mosaics and paper coiling.

“Today was a tremendous success, everyone enjoyed it immensely. The children’s response was that it was, ‘Epic, epic, epic! The best day ever!’ Their words.. A BIG thank you also goes to Lara, Wiebke and Danny, who were absolutely brilliant.”
Sandy Watson

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Lionwood Junior School – Nov 2012

Artist Natasha Cranston and historian Samuel O’Rourke joined scientist and SAW’s project manager Jenni Rant to design and deliver a SAW project in class 4 at Lionwood Junior School with teacher Jess King. The project took a closer look into the hidden world of dust! The children became dust detectives during the science session – taking dust samples from sites across the school and examining and comparing them under microscopes. Then Sam introduced the class to giant images of dust mites, talked about their lifestyles, and then the children wrote poetry imagining what it would be like to be a dust mite. Natasha showed the children some giant spider sculptures by artist Louise Bourgeois and then the class made giant dust mites and took inspiration from Jackson Pollack when creating a dust mite habitat to assemble a scene in the school library.

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Scarning Primary School – Oct 2012

Scientist Jose Fernandes teamed up with writer Stephanie Fuller and artist Alex Lingford to design and deliver a SAW project with teacher Sarah Hawes and the children of class 4. The project took as its theme Jose’s research into the rising ocean temperatures’ effects on fish populations, and the team developed an excellent board-game that enabled children to explore changes in fish species habitats relating to climate change. The ocean habitat was then expressed through the poetry work with Stephanie, and Alex used ice as a key ingredient for the art activity where the children all made fish scales to be assembled into a large fish collage.

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Town Close School – Oct 2012

Teachers Jane Marchant and Elizabeth Lewis-Williams worked with scientist Cristina Gherghisan-Filip, writer Julia Webb and artist Sam Greef on a SAW project themed on Antibiotics & Infection. Children from class 5 learned about different types of microorganisms that can cause disease and experienced how easily infections can spread using UV hand lotion which showed the importance of proper hand washing techniques. Julia used the strange and fantastic morphology of microorganisms to inspire the children to describe these strange beings through poetry and Sam taught children the art of felt-making, which they used to design and create their own microorganisms.

“I have enjoyed the whole experience and really loved the idea of practitioners working together.”
Julia Webb

“Thank you for a really stimulating day which the children all enjoyed, and from which they have learnt a great deal. I really appreciate all the efforts you made in ensuring the day was a success, and I sincerely hope this is an activity you would consider again.”
Elizabeth Lewis-Williams

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SAW at the Royal Norfolk Show – June 2012

SAW worked with the Centre for Contemporary Agriculture on their stand at the Royal Norfolk Show exploring the world of mud! Natural science students Jessie Gardner, Kris Sales and Margaret Cooper from the University of East Anglia joined Jenni Rant from SAW to run the science activities and Lara A’Court led a community art activity with the help of Laura Metcalf, Frances A’Court, Tom Norris and Richard Lawrence. The soils of Norfolk were the focus of these activities, with the soil structure being recreated by layering different soil types, sands and grit in tubes to represent the soil profile. The same materials were mixed with glue to use as paints to create a large piece of community art depicting the land beneath our feet. The art was created on 4 large boards divided into squares for a ‘paint by numbers’ style activity, allowing around 450 children to paint a square each over the two days of the Show. The final giant picture was displayed at the Forum in Norwich, alongside the names of the children who participated. Other activities included searching in the leaf litter for insects that break down vegetation and taking a closer look at these mini beasts under the microscope….an activity that proved as popular with adults as with children!

See photos, news, and a film about this event

St Peter & St Paul Primary School, Carbrooke – May 2012

Dr Gerty Ward is the granddaughter of the Nobel Prize winning biochemist Gerty Cori, winning the prize in 1947 with her husband Carl for their ground breaking discoveries on how the body regulates sugar. This research contributed greatly to our understanding of the disorder we know as diabetes. Gerty’s grandmother was featured on a set of commemorative stamps produced in the US in 2008 to honour famous American scientists. Dr Gerty Ward, visiting from the US, worked with Dr Jenni Rant from SAW and teacher Mrs Emma Hilton to deliver a project on diabetes to class 4 children from Carbrooke Primary school.

The children learnt about how our bodies regulate glucose levels and then they became ‘doctors’, wearing lab coats and testing pretend urine samples with a glucose tolerance test from unknown patients to assess if they were likely to have diabetes. The children plotted their results on a graph and made their diagnoses. The writing activity was inspired by the commemorative stamp featuring Gerty Cori. The children nominated someone that inspired them, writing a short biography of their chosen person. During the art session the children created stamps featuring their chosen person and then presented it to the rest of the class at a sharing session.

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SAW at Fascination of Plants Day – May 2012

The first International Fascination of Plants Day, launched under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organization (EPSO, Brussels), took place on Friday 18 May and brought together more than 450 institutions in 39 countries to celebrate plant science. In the UK alone over 80 universities, institutes, botanic gardens, and other organizations held public events and activities in appreciation of how plants shape our world and everything in it.

The John Innes Centre celebrated the day by hosting 550 children from 23 local schools providing an exciting range of plant-based activities.  SAW worked with the Osbourn group from the John Innes Centre, who study plant natural products, to introduce children to the wide variety of compounds found in plants which are exploited by humans. Scientists Jenni Rant, Rachel Melton and Ramesha Thimmappa used a card game where children had to collect all the genes in a pathway needed to make an anti-microbial product found in oat roots called avenacin. Once the pathway was complete, the children were able to explore the chemistry of natural products by building structures out of pipe cleaners which were joined together over the day to create one giant molecule. The children were also encouraged to invent and draw new products found in a real or fictitious plant.

See the game photos, and artwork from this project

Fairhaven CE VA Primary School – March 2012

Scientists Eric Ward and Brande Wulff from the 2Blades Foundation research group at the Sainsbury Laboratory worked with local writer Mike O’Driscoll and artists Chris Hann and Tracey Ross to design a SAW project on the theme of stem rust disease of wheat. The scientists created a game that enabled children aged 10 - 11 from Fairhaven Primary School to explore the benefits that plant disease resistance genes bring to protecting crops from pathogens. The class wrote poetry inspired by images of wheat and the stem rust pathogen Puccinia and then made a sculpture out of flour dough based on a piece called ‘Field’ by the famous artist Antony Gormley, best known for his sculpture ‘Angel of the North’.

To find out more, watch this film.

SAW at Science in Norwich Day – March 2012

SAW joined a host of other scientists from the Norwich Research Park and local and national organisations for a special free science event at the Forum in Norwich on Saturday 24 March. There were a wide variety of hands- on activities and demonstrations plus several science shows. SAW provided science, art and writing activities on the theme of light. Dr Jenni Rant from SAW was joined by natural science students Matthew Henderson, Hannah Bloomfield and Kurt Lee from the University of East Anglia, Chris Hann led the art with the help of Paul Osborne and the writing was run by Mike O’Driscoll, Elspeth Latimer and Anna Reckin.

Participants explored why the sky looks blue with our ‘sky in a box’ tool, played with prisms to separate light into the different colours and made colour wheels for spinning. The well-known mnemonic  ‘Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain’, used for remembering the colours of the rainbow, was transformed in a writing activity and permanent rainbows were made using a combination of water, black paper and clear nail varnish.

See photos, poetry and artwork from this project