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Headmaster’s Blog – Making links

October 14, 2013

This past week we had a ‘characters in history day’ for Years 3 to 6. This involved all the pupils (and a good number of staff) dressing up as a character, producing some research on his or her impact in history and then answering lower preo history5 oct 13 low res lincolnquestions in front of everyone else about the person in question. The people who were chosen stretched from John Kerry and Ian Botham, through various spacemen to the Suffragettes, down through the Victorian era (several Queens of that name) to the ever popular Tudors (where Henry VIII ended up with around twelve wives) and on to the oldest character – Cleopatra. Most of the characters were well known as Kings, Queens or politicians but we did have Catherine Hepburn, Charlie Chaplin and Elvis as well as several Crusading Knights!

One of the most interesting tasks of the morning was to engage in a timeline on the school playing fields with one metre for every ten years. This is where the most interesting links were made. The pupils saw how far apart in time are Ian Botham to Queen Cleopatra, from Gandhi to Boudicca and then were told how much further on would Bible time characters have been: the line stretched out of sight and into the trees surrounding our estate! Moreover, some senior pupils came out for their break just as the timeline was dispersing and they made the link with an exercise they had done recently on the playing fields to show the distance between the planets and the sun. This then led to a discussion of a recent Assembly – another link – where we had considered the time and distance now separating us from the Voyager spacecraft which left our solar system last week having blasted off from earth in 1977.

Making links is extremely important for us at Ballard. All too often subjects can be seen in isolation. For some time now we have been developing and expanding our Performing and Visual Arts programme – with dance, drama, music performance, music technology and art all linked – and over the past couple of years we have been forging ahead with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths).  The latter has seen several extra-curricular projects (such as gravity racing car) but, most importantly, STEM has encouraged teachers and pupils to make regular inter-disciplinary links in the normal course of lessons. In an age where people are having to be versatile in the workplace and flexible over their careers this ‘linking message’ is more important than ever.

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