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Science is a vitally important part of our school curriculum. In Term 2 during May, our Kairos Grade 5s, 6s and 7s participated in the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, an annual tradition for us, and as usual our students produced projects that were original, interesting and of high quality, and our students were able to demonstrate a strong understanding of the scientific thinking underpinning their work.


The intention for our pupils producing their science projects is mainly to have fun in engaging in scientific thinking in a sincere and enthusiastic way, while simultaneously they acquire some understanding in the values and principles of science and scientific thinking. We wish to reduce a sense of competition and comparison between each other’s project, with an emphasis on “trying one’s best” to explore a phenomenon and to research a question they’re curious about.


After a practice session where we presented our projects to the younger grades (and they had the opportunity to be junior judges and interview their senior peers!), Teacher Lwazi and I met our pupils at Curro School Rivonia to face the Eskom judges!

We have enjoyed a wonderful journey over the years with our Science Expo, always a little bit tweaked to make it work for us. We’ve been consistent in our pupils being able to put on a set of science projects that show genuine understanding of scientific thinking, a good grounding in the scientific field of their project, creative and unusual choices of projects, and a sincere and authentic engagement in the scientific questions they were choosing to explore.

This year the topics ranged from analysis on how colour affects mood and how music affects one’s emotions to the effect of ingredients of chocolate on the melting point of the chocolate and how centre of gravity affects flight of a glider — and many others. Our older class were even able to conduct an interview by Zoom with a real Willy Wonka sweet scientist based in Germany in support of one of our pupils’ projects.

It is always a highlight to witness our pupils present their projects with such confidence, such solid understanding, and with genuine, scientific curiosity — and indeed with such openness to declare areas in which their project could be improved with further research. School Science can amount to a jargon word referring merely to a high stakes matric subject instead of an understanding of what science is, and therefore what science education is. We feel proud that through our Kairos science curriculum our pupils are being initiated into the aspiration for scientific objectivity, questioning one’s own assumptions and conclusions.

Albert Einstein once said that “education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school”. Our pupils learn the conventional science curriculum, but as always, we pay attention to the emotional experience of the learning process, so scientific thinking will live on in them outside the classroom, and after the Science Expo is long forgotten. We believe our pupils will retain the mental habits of being curious, asking questions, being self-critical of one’s own ideas and being interested in how the world works.


It’s these mental habits which are most important for a primary school child to acquire as they head off into high school and possibly a future career, one day, in science. And as possible scientists, we hope they will continue to think for themselves, continue to question the scientific assumptions of the day, and continue to embody the Kairos ethos of inquiry

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