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What people have said about SAW

General comments

“What made the SAW projects stand out… was the quality of the input and interactions of the scientists, artists and writers with the children… [It] provides a model of how apparently disparate elements of the curriculum can be combined to great effect… The experiences and perceptions it provided of working science are irreplaceable… It would be very good to be able to extend this to more Norfolk Schools.”
Kevin Blogg, Norfolk County Council

“SAW is truly inspirational. The children’s work is really outstanding… I am very impressed by the quality of the poetry and artwork… As someone who has not specialised in science… I have learned a lot and quite simply had not previously been exposed to the beauty of science.”
David White, Chief Executive of Norfolk County Council

“The SAW process is truly innovative in bringing together scientists, artist and writers to inspire both teachers and children to communicate their science imaginatively. The results… are inspirational… it shows how curious minds are harnessed to develop children’s creative potential in science.”
Rosemary Feasey, Past Chair, Association for Science Education

“One of our objectives at NESTA is to support imaginative ways of engaging the public with science. The SAW project clearly demonstrates this, portraying science in a refreshing and thought-provoking way.”
Venu Dhupa, NESTA Fellowship Director

“This project has a life of its own. It has captured the imaginations of not only my colleagues, but my students and their students and schools.”
Professor Louise Swiniarski, School of Education, Salem State College, US

“I believe that science can be made more attractive, less alienating and more rewarding for pupils when they can engage with it creatively and are encouraged to make a personal response.”
Dr Jeremy Airey, Science Co-ordinator, National Science Learning Centre, UK

“It offers a flexible way of working which can be tailored to suit any age group, theme or area of the curriculum.”
Dr Marilyn Fryer, Director, Creativity Centre, UK

“SAW dissolves borders and melds worlds.”
Professor Clive Scott, Head of the School of Literature and Creative Writing, University of East Anglia

“See Saw is wonderful. The poems and pictures are really great. To think of E. coli as a pet or to consider nerve cells “gossiping with your brain”really demonstrates the power of bringing together science, art and writing in the educational experiences of children.”
Dr Allan Shwedel, Education Programme Evaluator, School of Education, Salem State College, US

“I think that See Saw is beautiful. Such a wonderful outcome of Anne’s NESTA award.”
Venu Dhupa, National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA)

Teachers

“Overall all staff and pupils think the project was extremely interesting and valuable. The pupils were challenged to think differently and responded very well. Personally I was very pleased with all aspects of the project and I know that I will think differently about teaching some aspects of the science curriculum. Sylvia, Helen and myself thank you all very much for such an inspiring project. I would love this to be repeated with a different class next year if possible.”
Kathy Lofthouse, The Clare School, Norwich

“When I was doing my lesson plan I was struck by how many frameworks I touched upon in this seemingly simple lesson.”
A trainee kindergarten teacher, Boston, USA

“The children were enthused that all their contributions were valued. They were pleased with the end result – a snowflake – and enjoyed this being displayed.”
Year 2 teacher, Hollingworth Primary School

“A fantastic session. The children were engaged throughout and produced some wonderful results. A well organised and resourced session.”
Year 4 Art Teacher, Hollingworth Primary School

“This project has a life of its own. It has captured the imaginations of not only my colleagues, but my students and their students and schools.”
Professor Swiniarski, Professor of Education at Salem State College, Boston, USA

“The children were on task for the whole session (1 ½ hours). They worked in ability groups and each group contributed similes to the chorus. My lasting impression is of the Red group squealing with delight at the verse that they had produced!”
Year 4 Teacher, Hollingworth Primary School

“The children were enthralled and very positive about the activities.”
Isabel Smith, Spooner Row Primary School

“This work fires the creative process and makes connections between science and the arts in the children's minds.”
Ken Holbeck, Head Teacher, Rockland St Mary County Primary School

“Very well organised and the children really enjoyed the task. They thrived on working in groups. [The] children produced some really good work and thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Year 3 Art Teacher, Hollingworth Primary School

“For the children to have the chance to access the knowledge, inspiration and ideas of the three experts was terrific. They had a great day. The excitement of seeing the test tubes and equipment made them feel like they were ‘in a real lab’. I will long remember their faces. The concept is superb. It works wonderfully and has informed my teaching during the last year.”
Nick King, Barford Primary School

“The children were enthusiastic about the tasks and engaged in group activities. A range of AT1 skills were covered.”
Year 2 Science Teacher, Hollingworth Primary School

“SAW - A wholeness of experience, an integration that is both affirming and revelatory.”
Jill Pirrie, internationally renowned poetry teacher

“SAW reminded me of why I took up teaching in the first place.”
John Nicholson, artist, retired chemistry teacher and science education lecturer

“SAW - We need more. Please!”
Ken Holbeck, Head Teacher, Rockland St. Mary County Primary School.

Scientists

“It was rewarding when they got so excited at times by contributing to the class with words and ideas. I felt like they all gained something from the experience and I certainly did in having a chance to work individually with these children… The ideas that resulted from this work were very inspiring…”
Caroline Smith, Department of Metabolic Biology, John Innes Centre

“I knew how enthusiastic the kids could be… what really surprised me was how much I enjoyed working with them and seeing what they could achieve once one found the right stimulus.”
Trevor Wang, Department of Metabolic Biology, John Innes Centre (a participating scientist with a daughter at The Clare School)

“The experience has been wholly positive… a wonderful way to bring science to young children, and the convergence of the scientific concepts together with poetry and art helped to create an experience that I'm sure will stay with many of these children for their whole lives. We in Bio are extremely keen to participate again in SAW and we see this as an ideal way to engage our science with everyday life.”
Dylan Edwards, Head of School, School of Biological Sciences, UEA

“We need innovative approaches to helping pupils see that science is a creative way of understanding the universe and ourselves. See Saw does this in a way that is both beautiful and powerful.”
Michael Reiss, Professor of Science Education at the Institute of Education, University of London

“Scientists, artists and creative writers share a common purpose in their attempts to describe, interpret and ultimately to understand the world about them. SAW is singularly successful in drawing those threads together.”
Professor David Ingram OBE, VMH, Master, St Catharine's College, Cambridge: botanist, horticulturalist and conservationist

“Amazingly, I observed something about how Streptomyces colonies grow that had escaped my notice in the previous 39 years!”
Keith Chater

“I enjoyed the day hugely.”
Tony Maxwell

“The children gave surprisingly well-informed and thoughtful answers to complex questions related to the similarities and differences between art and science.”
Robert Sablowski

“The SAW day… was an extremely rewarding experience. The children loved investigating the different types of seeds and learning about their dispersal methods. The energy and enthusiasm they had for all of the activities was brilliant to watch and overall the day was a great success.”
Wendy Harwood and Hayley Jeffries

“I think other scientists should do this type of project as it’s a great way to get our research out there to a wide audience and it sparks a lot of interest and confidence in children to do more science.”
Jenni Rant

“In many ways it is more difficult to simplify a complex issue than to explain every aspect of the problem. Therefore it was an invaluable experience to be offered a young audience to communicate science with.”
Andrew Staphnill

“I was really surprised by the enthusiasm with which the children involved themselves in the SAW project – and the results were awe-inspiring. I was impressed at how clever the children were at grasping new concepts and how imaginative with their science-inspired poetry. The best part of all was seeing how much they enjoyed themselves, as did my scientific colleagues and I.”
Kamal Ivory

“The children were very enthusiastic and did the experiments with some thought. They made pertinent observations on some things I thought they probably wouldn’t notice. They used some of the equipment in a way I hadn’t anticipated, which all added to their and my enjoyment!”
Kamal Ivory

“Fantastic!”
Dr Uta Paskowski, plant biologist, University of Geneva, Swtizerland

“See Saw arrived this morning. I love it, and had to drag it away from our art editor, who also couldn’t tear herself away!”
Shannon Amoils, editor for Nature Reviews Microbiology

“Amazing. I really like ‘Earth-sick Astronaut’ and ‘The Spiral Staircase’. ‘Yellow Moon Haiku’ grabbed me too. The dust mites made me wonder what your poets would do with a forest of Aspergillus, seen through a microscope. Most of the drawings, charming as they are, are clearly the work of children. But the poems, in their perfectly printed type, are age-free.”
Professor John Taylor, evolutionary biologist, University of California, Berkeley, US

“I let myself be captured by the pictures and poems. Beginning with “People on the Great Wall of China, dancing the cha cha cha”and ending with “Birds fly in and out of the website”, I was enchanted.”
Professor Nick Amrheinn, biochemist, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Artists & Writers

“SAW is a highly creative project which has the potential to not only inform but excite children about science. I think its cross-curricular strategy, using words and art to explore scientific themes, stands a greater chance of engaging children's attention across the ability range than more conventional subject-defined approaches. As a child who was switched off science at school, I'm convinced that the SAW approach is particularly helpful in interesting children who currently struggle with science.”
Esther Morgan, poet, tutor, and adviser to the Cheltenham Science Festival

“SAW days are an ongoing learning experience for me and I feel that I take away a lot at the end of each day.”
Sarah Jarrett, artist

“SAW is a great way to get children writing and thinking about science creatively.”
Naomi Jaffa, Director, the Poetry Trust

“Bringing science and writing together in the classroom seems the most natural thing to do.”
Helen Ivory, Eric Gregory award-winning Bloodaxe poet

Children

“It was good when Helen the poet came in and Linda the scientist as well. The part I liked best was when we got Lego people out of the ice cubes it was fun.”
Hollingworth Primary School pupil

“Bacteria can be so colourful.”
Oliver Wakefield, age 8, Rockland St Mary Primary School

“I learned that a bubble had three layers. I learned how to write a good poem and to enjoy writing.”
Sophie Richardson, age 8, Tacolneston Primary School

“Science is really exciting.”
Louisa Scott, age 10, North Elmham Primary School

“SAW week was a fun week because it was a change from the normal lessons, and we also had fun while we learned.”
Hollingworth Primary School pupil

“We did lots of inventing.”
Xena Dyball, age 9, Martham Primary School

“I liked extracting coloured chemicals from plants.”
Sophie Windsor, age 9, Martham Primary School

“I learned that if you mix washing-up liquid with salt and shredded onion and a dash of alcohol you can get DNA. Also I learned that Tony can’t spell deoxyribonucleic acid!”
Ellie Payne, age 10, Spooner Row Primary School

“I learned that I can write poems and that anything can inspire anything.”
Byron Chapman Woods, age 11, Spooner Row Primary School

“My best school day ever!”
Megan Welton, age 11, Spooner Row Primary School

“I liked science best because we saw mutant plants… [and] I learned that we are 2% banana.”
Tom Allenby, 11, Halesworth Middle School

“I learned that you can make a poem from a little bit of DNA.”
Ruby Brooks, 10, Halesworth Middle School

“I just love these photos!”
Patrick Ellison, age 7, Rockland St Mary Primary School

“What would have made the day better? If you had stayed longer. And if we had stayed longer.”
Chloe Whiterod, 10, Great Ellingham Primary School