Pop goes the lab talk

3rd March 2006 at 00:00
Pop science is the new buzzword in school labs, and it is winning the hearts of pupils who were bored with old-hat teaching methods.

That is the verdict of heads of science across Wales, who claim new exam-board courses giving science more human interest are already doing wonders for the subject.

Tony Lowery, head of science at Chepstow comprehensive school in Monmouthshire, said bringing current affairs into the lab had seen interest soar.

The school is in its third year of English-based exam board OCR's 21st century science pilot. Pupils bring big topics of the day into the science lab and follow it up on the outside.

Before half term, pupils were reading newspaper reports on genetically modified organisms and analysing their effects on Africa.

It is geared towards making the pupils think around science more, according to Mr Lowery. Elsewhere in Wales, pupils at St Joseph's high school in Newport have just returned from a trip to the supermarket.

Their task was to discuss the pros and cons of the growing and marketing of organic food. Not long ago they were at an aluminium finishing company talking about the problems of purification and the extraction of aluminium.

Dr Mark Matthews, who opted for a new-look applied science course two years ago, said: "There is still a point to traditional science if you are going to be a doctor, dentist or vet.

"But if pupils want to be beauticians or hairdressers, why not get them to make soap?"

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