Upton pupils investigate what makes us tick

Born This Way topic at Upton

By Peter Barnett

How well would you adapt to life if you lost one of your senses?

That’s the challenge faced by Year 6 children at Upton Junior School, Broadstairs, as part of a WOW Day to launch their latest topic called Born This Way.

Pupils watched videos of determined amazing people who have adapted to playing sport despite their visual impairments, and they were astonished by a heart-warming film about a young girl called Lacey. Although she was born without arms, she can draw and colour in pictures, play with building blocks and tie her own laces.

Pupils then tried it for themselves, first drawing with their dominant hand, then their weaker hand, then their mouths and finally their feet. It was a lot tougher than Lacey made it look.

Another activity that offered important life skills saw First Aid instructor Andy Webb demonstrate how to perform potentially life-saving CPR skills on a dummy and how to put someone into the recovery position. Pupils also researched the Red Cross, and discovered how the organisation started, about its work and other aspects of First Aid.

The next challenge was a tough physical workout with pupils using themselves as guinea pigs to monitor the changes they experienced such as sweating, aching muscles, increased heart rate and breathing during and after exercise.

Another part of the hands-on learning involved Fizz Pop Science. Youngsters explored the sensation of flavour and recognised that it is not just the tongue that helps people experience taste, but also other sensory organs like the nose and eyes – and to prove it they made fizzy sherbet to test their research.

A topical strand to the day was learning how the body defends itself against dangerous germs, how swiftly and easily germs can spread and the body’s protection by producing mucus to combat dangerous bacteria.

Head of Year 6 Athanasia Papa-Adams said: “It was wonderful to see all their learning come together on one structured day-long session. In particular when they saw how people adapt if they lose one their senses, they really thought about our Core Values and showed great empathy when watching and discussing the video clips.

“The work on taste buds linked to our Science learning on the digestive system, while learning about germs and bacteria linked to their History lessons on the fantastic development of medicine through the centuries especially the discovery and use of penicillin.”

Head of School Darci Arthur added: “WOW Day sessions are energetic, focussed and fun. They help kick start our various topic learning programmes and they really engage and enthuse our pupils.”