How haiku can boost understanding in science

14th November 2014 at 10:00

A group of state school students from London are mixing science with poetry in a book of scientific haiku, which is being published to raise funds to modernise their school laboratories. 

Sciku: The Wonder of Science in Haiku is a collection of 17-syllable poems written and edited by students aged 11-18 at the Camden School for Girls. Not only does the book aim to fund improvements to the school labs, which date from the 1960s, but it also celebrates a shift in the number of women who are getting involved in science.

The collection covers topics as varied as Newton’s laws, climate change, time travel and evolution, and includes gems such as these:

Atomic optimism
Be like a proton!
Always positively charged
Never negative.

The element of surprise
Oxygen went out
With magnesium today
I’m like OMg!

The project was led by science teacher Simon Flynn and English teacher Karen Scott, who joined forces to incorporate elements of both subjects.

“It’s vital that we don’t pigeonhole ourselves as being an arts or science person,” says Flynn. “We feel this project has played a small part in showing the girls that the two cultures can have a symbiotic relationship.”

Scott adds: “Having a haiku in a published book has boosted their confidence, given them a greater sense of self-belief and has also shown them that science can be a fun and creative subject.

“Hopefully, it has widened students’ horizons and enabled many of them to see themselves as credible writers while also opening up the possibility of a career in Stem [science, technology, engineering and maths] in later life.”

In support of the @scikugirls’ campaign we are asking teachers to send us their best science haiku on Twitter this weekend using the #Sciku hashtag. We’ll retweet the best ones and the top 10 submissions will win a prize; they will also be published on our TES News blog on Sunday.

Camden School for Girls is a comprehensive secondary with a co-educational sixth form. Sciku: The Wonder of Science in Haiku is published on 20 November by Icon Books.

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