Japanese visitor discovers pupils' yen for sciences

MORLEY high school was chosen to represent the region this week for its cutting edge approach to teaching science.

Pupils have been taking part in the new government-led Setpoint initiative that explores creative ways science can be taught, incorporating techniques more often found in subjects such as art and English.

On Tuesday a Japanese journalist visited the school as part of a two-day tour organised by Yorkshire Forward to promote the region's science and technology.

Akito Kuwayama, a science writer for Asahi Shimbun, a leading Japanese newspaper was invited to the country as part of a nationwide campaign of events to promote the United Kingdom's expertise.

Mr Kuwayama, who also visited some of the region's science museums and laboratories, will return to Japan where he will write about his experiences in Yorkshire for his eight million readers.

The Setpoint initiative, which tries to ensure children of all ages are given the opportunity to learn about science, engineering technology and mathematics, has also involved pupils from Seven Hills Primary School.

Morley High School's deputy headteacher Anne McAvan said: "We want our children to see science in a more creative light than is perhaps normally the case, and to bring to science all the creative elements of art and English."

The new and more exciting approach to science teaching has also included a two-day residential field trip.

Science teachers David Craine and Damian McDonnell asked a group of 22 pupils to imagine they were tourists on a foreign planet.

They collected items they found, including a dead rabbit and part of a car radio, and returned them to the laboratory for evaluation and testing.

The information gathered was used in school as the basis of science and art lessons, where students produced a haiku wall and poems about landmarks in the history of science. The poems were performed by the students for their classmates.

Conclusions from science experiments written by pupils were also mounted on strips of paper and combined to make a large artistic display for the school.

Susan Johnson, executive director of business with Yorkshire Forward said: "We are delighted to welcome Mr Kuwayama to Yorkshire and Humber.

"I am sure that he will leave with a very good understanding of how and why Yorkshire and Humber is becoming a world class region in these fields.

"More importantly, I hope that he will feel inclined to relate our success stories to his eight million readers in Japan.

"Mr Kuwayama's visit is an opportunity for us to sell our region to the wider world with a view to attracting greater inward investment."