1st October 2014
Writing: Rishi Shah (Year 8), Cameron Robey and Mark Dangerfield (Year 9), Finlay Carroll (Year 10), Fred Sanders (Year 11), Niall Jones (Year 12) and Josh Richardson (Year 13)
The first Enrichment Day of the year sees each year undertaking a different learning activity. Here are their reports on the day.
When we first arrived at the Globe Theatre we explored the exhibition, which was full of facts, figures, costumes and artefacts from Shakespearian theatre. The Globe that we visited was actually a reconstruction of the original, as the first was burnt down. We gathered as much information as we could before a lunch break out in the open, with a great view down the Thames and into London.
Our afternoon activities involved a tour of the Globe and a drama workshop. The Globe is a theatre in the round – this means there is a stage in the middle with seats surrounding it from all angles. In the 1600s, the peasants who couldn’t afford a seat would stand in front of the stage and watch the play. The roof of the stage was supposed to be ‘the heavens’ and had a trap door from which good characters could enter. Plays are still being performed there today: we watched a few actors rehearsing A Comedy of Errors.
During our drama workshop, we did an activity in which you had to follow your partner’s hand with your head, to learn to maintain maximum attention and focus while acting. We created some freeze frames from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which helped us to understand Shakespearian language more clearly. Finally, we performed a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream using cue scripts – which were much harder to understand and act out than normal scripts!
The Art and Graphics Teams started the day off with a creativity workshop aimed at increasing the creativity level of all the students involved. This started with a test to judge how creative we could be. We were asked to show how many different images we could see from a base of a few lines, and also had to think laterally to solve some challenging riddles. Following this was a practical task: taking photos around the school on our iPads and then manipulating them creatively, collaborating with a group and working with different media to create a lovely picture.
In the afternoon we left Art feeling inspired to find out how chemistry is used in a wide range of working environments. We received talks from a wide range of speakers who worked in the discipline in many different ways. We learnt how knowledge of chemistry is used to make hair products, to keep swimming pools clean, and we started to understand the chemistry in our brains' decision-making processes. The talks were given by industry experts who were very happy to share their knowledge with the students.
This very educational trip augmented our study of studies on forces, Newton’s laws and velocity. When we arrived, the experienced ‘Thorpe Parkers’ dashed to the entrance, flashed their annual passes then sprinted to their favourite rides, leaving the first timers struggling to get through the ticket barrier.
After an hour of exploring we all reconvened for a talk from a member of the Thorpe Park team. He spoke about the brake mechanisms on the rides and the speed of the rides as well as giving us a chance to ask him questions. It was an enjoyable talk and prepared us well for future Physics lessons. Then the sun came out, and we spent the remainder of the day in a detailed, practical study of the mechanics we had discussed.
The day began with the Morrisby Profile test: consisting of verbal, numeral and abstract tests, it aimed to pinpoint our strengths and weaknesses. Questions asked what kind of work area we preferred, to whether we would like to 'design and build a fully functional international airport' (which had some baffled). With our answers, the test was able to determine the A Levels, universities and careers we would be best suited for.
Mr Morgan then spoke to us about revision, with the main message being, 'Don’t work hard, work smart'. Ms Baker discussed our upcoming work experience, prompting us to start making connections with businesses in order to plan our two weeks out. After a quick lunch break (really quick!), Mr Anning talked to us about options at 16+, including A Levels, apprenticeships and the International Baccalaureate. Mr Colquhoun explored the topic of higher education, especially focusing on the wacky University lingo, such as UCAS and PHDs.
The final part of the day was a little different: each year the PE Team have the opportunity to show Year 11 a new sport. This year, it was handball. After watching a brief introductory video, everyone soon came to understand the general simplicity of the sport (particularly that if you just lob it down the court, maybe someone will catch it and score). However, the pace of the game was enough to have everyone panting and red in the face, with just about enough energy left to walk all the way to the bus stop.
Lead by Mr Cavanagh and Miss Kremer, we explored our use of learning habits through a variety of activities and talks. In teams of five to ten we engaged in a number of abstract tasks, including spotting as many items as we could beginning with 'S' in a picture, and coming up with weird and wonderful uses for a conker and paperclip (of which the oddest was probably a suggestion to stuff the conker up your nose and the paperclip down your throat in order to waste NHS money: definitely do not try this at home!) The key theme of the day was that exams are not everything and that attitude and work ethic are even more important to employers.
With many boys in Year 13 learning to drive, or having recently passed their test, the day's issue was an important one. The first session was with Mr Laferton, and had small teams working out the average annual running costs of a small car. Mr Patteson and Dr Thompson showed us what is important to look for when buying a used car. In addition, there were external visitors including a team from the Citygate garage in Little Chalfont. The mechanics showed us how to change a wheel and how to perform basic maintenance. There was also a talk given by a fireman from the local fire brigade. This speech was focused on the dangers of drinking alcohol and other misbehaviour when driving, and was very powerful in making sure everyone in the year understood the importance of being sensible on the roads.