Science

From Years 2 to 11, students at Hampton Court House have science lessons with a subject specialist. Science lessons are rooted in the 11+, 13+ and IGCSE curricula, but all of our teachers are passionate about extending students’ education beyond the curriculum. Our goal is to foster in our students a spirit of enquiry. When they leave us, students should feel confident tackling complex problems using the scientific method, that is, they should feel able not only to pose questions, but also to come up with methods for solving them.

Science dayAs a department, we have close ties with the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, we go on field trips with the Field Studies Council, we enter competitions with bodies such as the Royal Society of Chemistry, and of course, take advantage of our proximity to museums in London.

Abigail HowardBSc PGCE
  • Head of Science

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Y8 Rube Goldberg Machine Project

After their 13+ exams, Year 8 have been undertaking a project across the sciences and art to make Rube Goldberg machines- intricately complicated machines that accomplish very simple tasks, named for American cartoonist Reuben Goldberg. British artist W Heath Robinson is also known for similar work.... Year 8 are working in small groups to make machines of their own, accomplishing a range of tasks such as squeezing a lemon, and icing a cake. Machine steps they have invented include a domino pushing a car carrying a lit candle to burn through a piece of rope, and a balista made from molly sticks launching a projectile to pop a baloon. Next week they will be videoing their machines in action and in the last week of term they will be presenting their work.

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Y10 pupils compete in annual NPL Schools Water Rocket Challenge

A team of 6 Y10 pupils: Max – team leader, Charles, Freddie, Solo, Ryan and Daniil, competed in the NPL annual school water rocket challenge. The event was held on the NPL Sports ground facility in Teddington.
More than 50 Schools from across the borough and from further afield (including Spain) all... competed to design three water/air pressure rockets and a launching mechanism. Points were awarded for time of flight and for landing in three designated zones.


The pupils had worked hard over the last 6 weeks designing and testing their prototype rockets. On the day, all three HCH rockets successfully launched in the rain, and our team came within a very respectable margin of the winning scores. The precision of the launches was spot on, but a few high cross winds just moved the team out of highest scoring range by a couple of metres.

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Giant Bubble Assembly for Lower Years Pupils

On the first day back after half-term, the Lower Years children enjoyed making giant bubbles during an assembly organised by Jonah and Helen, our science technicians. Everyone had a go at shaping different sized-bubbles using various wands: it was mesmerizing to see all these colourful bubbles floating... around. Jonah explained the science behind bubble making and the different solutions he had made to see which one would work best. He shared the magic receipe with the children so they can experiment at home!

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Middle Years Floating Garden Competition

During Science Week, Middle Years students were invited to take part in the ‘Floating Gardens Challenge’ set by the charity Practical Action. Students learnt that crops can often be wiped out because of long term flooding of croplands in places like Bangladesh. Their challenge was to use recycled... materials to engineer a solution to this. Students thought carefully about the many facets of this problem:


– the weight (light as possible) and strength (able to hold several kg of weight without breaking) of their materials
– the stability of the design in water
– how to plant and grow cress seeds with minimal watering
– material and adhesives that could cope with getting wet.

The designs would be judged on the amount of cress growth and also the amount of weight that could be loaded onto the garden before it sank. Filip, Cyrus, Nathaniel and Ollie used moss to keep their soil moist and achieved the most impressive cress growth:

For the test of buoyancy we enlisted the help of our sixth form physicists:
The winning design was simple but very effective, made out of plastic bottles and corks, and using clever proportions to allow it to balance evenly and hold the greatest weight. Mohammad, Ben and Benjamin were the overall winners with a design that held 1.8kg of weight and grew an impressive amount of cress. Well done!

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Local Nature Photography Competition 2019

For this year’s Science Week, we asked students and staff to showcase local nature in their photographs. We received an astonishing 169 entries from 43 students and six teachers. Entrants ranged from Nursery to Year 11, and I was able to identify 63 different species present in the photographs!

On...

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Y13 Attend ‘Physics in Action’ at Emmanuel Centre

Year 13 physicists took a trip to the Emmanuel centre in Westminster last week to hear talks from five brilliant UK physicists.

The lectures were entertaining, wide ranging and thought provoking. The speakers, all research scientists at leading UK institutions, gave some insight into applications of... physics to addressing some of the big questions facing us today:


-How can we improve cancer treatment so that it has fewer side effects?
-How do we fuel the energy needs of an ever-growing population?
-How good is science at predicting the future?

The speakers encouraged students to consider why the arrow of time only points forwards and why even a system as apparently simple as a double pendulum is basically too chaotic to predict accurately.

The language of the talks was technical and really stretched the students beyond the A level but they were able to get a lot from the day, and made full use of their front row seats to ask lots of questions.

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