Events for Primary Schools
On 12th November, over 300 Year 6 children and teachers from 11 different schools around Berkshire visited the Institute of Education for a jam-packed day of activities, experiments and talks exploring the big questions that bridge science and religion.
Opening Plenary Session
The day began with an energetic opening session led by Dr Berry Billingsley in the Great Hall. Students were introduced to the topics and themes of the day, and a guest appearance by Sir Isaac Newton (played by actor, David Hall) had the whole room seeing rainbows as children looked through diffraction glasses to experience this phenomenon discovered by the famous physicist.
Meet Sir Isaac Newton – David Hall
In a talk especially crafted for this event, “Britain’s Greatest Genius”, Sir Isaac Newton himself, shared some of his amazing discoveries and inventions that revealed to him so many of the Wonders of God’s Incredible Universe…!
Should we bring back dinosaurs and woolly mammoths? – Andrew Happle
This workshop explored ideas about what makes an individual unique and how much of our DNA ‘recipe’ is shared with other living things. Participants constructed models of DNA and talk about the roles of genes in living organisms.
What does a rainbow in the sky mean? – Geoff Taggart
There are lots of different ways of explaining things, such as stars and oceans (even hiccups!). This session started with two different stories and led to a fascinating discussion about what explanations and stories mean and do for us!
George and the dragon – Professor Andy Kempe
In this workshop, the children were asked to consider two versions of the story of St George and the Dragon and to decide how each version made them think and feel.
Science and Time – Denise Balmer
The workshop was an opportunity for participants to learn about and discuss the formation and development over time of our planet Earth. The session was very interactive with students putting together a ‘washing line of time’, and discussing whether this is at odds with ‘religious time’ and the biblical explanation of how Earth developed.
Extra Sensory Deception – Dr Matt Pritchard
What can you believe? In this workshop the worlds of magic and science collided to deceive and surprise participants’ senses. Can you discover the sneaky scientific secrets behind the surprising illusions? The show challenged participants to think creatively like both a scientist and a magician. The interactive show encouraged enquiry and critical thinking, using magic tricks to inspire. Where does faith, belief and the supernatural fit in with rational science? Or are they enemies?
Mad Science – Joe Allen
We took a look at the leading theory of how science thinks the universe came into existence and whether and how this might fit with religious beliefs including Creation by God..
Science and Faith – Emily Messer and Neil Laing
Neil and Emily led a discussion about whether science and faith are compatible, looking into what evolution and creation mean, to show how each can help us to have an understanding of both how and why life came into being, and what this means for scientists today.
Noah’s Ark – Jane Borgeaud
This session began with a practical look at the science of rainbows and then explored the question of why the Noah’s ark story is so fascinating for people from different academic disciplines and why it is so important to people including scientists with a strong religious faith.
All you need is science. Or is it? – Revd Mark Laynesmith
This workshop explored big questions about what it means to be human together with the relationships between science, philosophy and faith – all in a format designed to appeal to ten year old children!
Fossils and Faith – Lizzie Coyle
In this workshop students discovered more about what fossils tell us about living things that were here in the past. We also looked at how these ideas might fit with beliefs about God and creation.