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‘Science Days’ at the Platanus Schule Berlin

This month at Platanus we enjoyed Science and Mathematics to its fullest!

On Tuesday the 14th of March like every year, the international Pi Day took place. The Year 7 celebrated in a traditional way with Obstkuchen (Fruit Pie) and commemorated all those mathematicians who occupied themselves with Pi. The result: Mathematics can be tasty – which of course had to be proven!

In the following days, the 15th, 16th and 17th of March, our ‘Science Days’ took place. Throughout the entire school building, with children of every age and with every teacher, things were researched, experimented, tested, measured, studied and reflected upon. There were a multitude of imaginative and varied scientific projects.

In Years 1 to 4, marble runs were built out of various materials – wood, paper, plastic, synthetic materials and styrofoam. Children were given free range with their imaginations and were given no restrictions as to what they could build. At the end, we measured the time it took for the marbles to reach the end of their run and drew conclusions on the various materials and their texture.

Meanwhile, students from Year 5 to 7 studied aeronautics and built colourful hot air balloons out of tissue paper. They then climbed to the ceiling in our gym. Aeronautics is the study of flying and includes the theory of constructing balloons, airships, planes and rockets. Our children were extremely excited!

All classes also built intelligent towers. The goal in this activity was to build the highest tower possible using only paper clips and pegs. The challenge however, was not that it not only had to stay standing, but also bear the weight of a thick dictionary for at least a minute.

Lots of fun was also had in the classes of Year 1-4 with the ‘Egg Drop Challenge’. The children had to create and build devices from all sorts of materials in which an egg would be embedded and then dropped from a height of 2 metres – all without breaking! Funny and crazy constructions were used and of course there was lots of laughter over so many smashed eggs. The children from Year 4 even successfully managed to build a parachute with which the egg was able to sail safely from the 3rd storey down to the school yard.

Furthermore, individual kaleidoscopes were conceived; paper planes were self constructed and tested; butterfly wings were let fly without being touched; ‘Hidden Messages’ were written and a colourful rainbow consisting of variously coloured liquids of differing densities were produced in a glass.

We also solved lots of funny brain-teasers which required us to think outside the box. For example:

„Two students are sitting on opposite sides of the same desk. There is nothing between them but the desk. Why can’t they see each other?“
Well, have you got any idea?
„The two students have their backs to each other.“

On top of this, we had great excursions with the children to the Spektrum Museum, the Technikmuseum and to the Öko-Insel FEZ as well as to the exhibitions ‘Abenteuer Planeten’ at the Planetarium am Insulaner and ‘Geboren and Willkommen’ at the MACHmit! Museum.

They were exciting days and proved to us again how much joy the sciences can give children, especially when they’re taught in interesting ways from passionate teachers. We thank our teacher and subject coordinator Joana Kappes for the extensive and amazing organisation of the ‘Science Days’. We would like to conclude with a quote from an enthusiastic scientist:

‘The highest happiness of man as a thinking being is to have probed what is knowable and quietly revere what is unknowable’.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe

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