Category Archives: Learning Outside The Classroom

Bradfield College Year 5 Science Challenge Winners!

science challenge bradfield 5

A mixture of nerves and excitement filled Freddie, Sasha, Hamish and Zara as we made our way into Bradfield College’s fantastic Science department ready to start the Prep Schools’ Science Challenge.

Children from 20 different prep schools started to arrive with similar feelings to the Pinewood team and the atmosphere was tense! The children were briefed that the challenge would consist of 3 practical challenges and a quiz in each science and that they needed to work as a team in order to do well. Our first challenge was Biology, which involved observational skills whilst looking at plant cells through microscopes and studying the behaviour of maggots when put on a petri dish, that was half in the light and half in the dark. The next challenge was all about Physics where the children were tasked with making a loudspeaker out of cardboard, paper and copper wire that would play music from an iPhone. A much needed biscuit and juice break followed the Physics challenged and once the children were recharged and ready to go they headed into their final challenge: Chemistry. Here the children had to identify unlabelled chemicals by mixing them with other, labelled chemicals and observe the reactions between them. This, I was told, was ‘really cool’! Dr Brooks, Bradfield’s Director of Science, who then gave a Whizz, Bang, Pop demonstration that involved hydrogen balloons, liquid nitrogen and a little bit of scientific ‘magic’ that left both children and adults in awe. We then headed over to the quad where we were treated to a Nitrogen ‘bomb’ demonstration and then the all-important results. The children all fell silent for the first time that afternoon whilst Dr Brooks read out 3rd place (no mention of Pinewood), then 2nd place (still no mention of Pinewood) and then, with suspense at its highest, he announced that Pinewood had won!! A huge well done to the Pinewood team, they worked sensibly, scientifically and as part of a team and we are all very proud of them!


Smooth Newt Found in Pinewood Pond!


Year 7 are enjoying their Cross-Curricular Week and this morning were very excited (although not as excited as Head of Science, Mrs LT!) to find a smooth newt in the pond when they went pond dipping. Mrs LT said it is the first time she has ever seen one at Pinewood!

Year 7 Race For The Line Competition

bloodhound 12

Yesterday morning Year 7 were finally able to see their foam rocket cars in action in Pinewood’s first Race for the Line competition. This is part of a national competition to inspire interest in STEM subjects by getting pupils to work in teams to design, build and race their model rocket cars based on the Bloodhound model.

The race track was built in the lower car park by Staff Sergeant Helen Jones and her team from MOD Corsham.  The cars were racked up and loaded with charges.   After an enthusiastic count down for each car the charge was ignited and the cars shot off down the race track.  Each car was timed at top speed as it passed through a light gate before crashing into some foam lagging at the finish.

We were delighted (and relieved) that all the children’s designs met the safety criteria for racing and all survived ignition, reaching the finishing line intact.  The fastest cars travelled at over 13 m/s (an impressive 47 km/hour) but variations in time were affected most by how well the cars travelled along the guide wire.  Cars that travelled straight and ran well along the ground pulled least on the wire and so were not slowed by friction.

It was great fun seeing all the cars whizz past and we are delighted that The Flameingoes have qualified for the regional finals in May!  We are very grateful to the team from MOD Corsham for making race day possible.   Well done everyone!


The results are shown below.

For more photos please go to the Photo Gallery.

Team Name Time (ms) Position
Poppy A, Amber 76.1 3
Phantom, Edward L & Tom F 77.7
Toby, Alfie, Ben C 76.9
Benny, Kiki (Super Duper Fast Car) 77.6
Ines, Ollie C, Atticus (Black Panther) 74.6 2
William, Milan (MOWAMZ) 83.8
Grace, Poppy I, Ottilie (Toastin) 91.8
Minnie, Amelia, Tabbie (The flying rocket mat) 87.2
Bella, Caitlin, Oliver, Yasha 89.9
Georgie, Max, Tara, Alice, Poppy (The Flamingoes) 71.9 1
Cecilia, Grace, Iona, Poppy, Rosa (Speeding Speedos) 78.6
Raffy, Katya, Alexandra, Samson (Bob the builder) 77.3

Stargazing at Pinewood

telescope 4

A huge thank you to the parents of the 2017 Year 8 Leavers who generously gave the school an amazing telescope. After many failed attempts at stargazing due to bad weather and the lunar cycle we were finally able to show some Pre-Prep and Year 7 pupils a close up view of the moon on Thursday evening.  We hope that this will be the first of many star and moon gazing opportunities.

Thanks are also due to Chris, Pinewood’s Database Manager and resident stargazing expert for sharing his technical expertise and enthusiasm.

For more photos please go to the Gallery.


Pinewood Weather Station

weather station crop

Pinewood now has its very own weather station, kindly paid for by Friends of Pinewood.

You can track the data from the weather station by going to: Login and password details can be found on the Pigeon.

The weather station will allow us to track rainfall, temperature and wind speed/direction amongst other things and will be a very useful real life tool for our budding geographers.

Neverland Week in the Library

neverland 1

Follow the second star to the right and go straight on till morning to arrive in Neverland in the Boddington Library!

The Reading Group who meet during activities on a Thursday afternoon have been reading the story and creating lots of decorations to turn the library into the magical island, complete with a mermaid lagoon and Indian village with tepee and totem pole. Children have visited to take part in competitions, try on a pirate hat or Indian headdress, search for fairy dust and see the story come alive through nine different 3D scenes from the story.  They have been able to transform themselves into different characters from the story including the dastardly villain Captain Hook. Pre-Prep have also visited to take part in the fun. It’s been a busy week in the library and children who took part in the competitions have enjoyed a piece of pirate treasure, of the chocolate variety!

Thanks to the Reading Group for all their hard work this term and for helping to make this such a successful event.

For more photos please go to the Photo Gallery.


Pinewood Year 8 Science Fair

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This was the fourth Science Fair that we had held for the Year 8 leavers.  Since their return from their trip to France Year 8 have been working in small groups on independent science projects, investigating an area of science that appealed to them.  This year the variety of projects was extraordinary, ranging from making slime, launching match head rockets and finding out the quickest way to move an After Eight chocolate mint from your forehead to mouth!

Within a relatively short time each group had to organise their equipment, carry out the experiment, collect and interpret results and produce a display board.  The display boards allowed the pupils to show their understanding of the projects and principles of scientific investigation.

At the fair each group had to discuss their project with our judging panel of senior school science department heads: Dr Chris Flaherty, Head of Science from Cokethorpe, Mrs Phaedra Gowen, Housemistress at St Edward’s, Oxford, Dr Alix Waine, Head of Chemistry and Mrs Louise Carter, Housemistress and Head of Biology, both from Stowe. The judges were really impressed by the originality of the projects and enthusiasm of our pupils when describing what they had done and found out.  The display boards were well presented and provided a visual reminder of what had been done.  As always the judges made suggestions and pointers on how the projects could have been improved, but all the pupils spoke with confidence about variables, fair testing and what investigations they would like to do in the future.

Prize Winners

Best overall project:

How Haribo sweets, RedBull and exercise affect the rate of reaction?

Lara Capps, Nathan McAvoy, Nora MW and Sasha Wolcough

Best display board:

How temperature and age affect how quickly you can move an After 8 chocolate mint from your forehead to mouth.

Ollie Samuel, Lizie Birch and Amelia Stevens

Best verbal presentation:

How different volumes of glue affect the bounciness of a ball

Luca Malikov, Josh Tate and Hugo Lawson

Mr King and I were delighted with the way in which all the pupils approached the challenge and worked diligently into their last week at Pinewood.  All deserve congratulations for their efforts. Well done! We are also extremely grateful to our judges for coming to Pinewood and putting the children through their paces.  We hope that the Science Fair experience is one of the many special Pinewood memories that the children take with them as the leave us for the challenges of senior school.


For more photos from the Science Fair, please go to the photo gallery.

Year 8 Scholars’ Dragons Den Presentations

dragons den 2

The Year 8 Scholars have spent this term developing Pinewood branded products to present to the Pinewood Dragons (Mr Hoyland, Mrs Ranstead, Assistant Bursar, and Mrs Dalton, Finance Manager) for the opportunity to sell at the products at school to raise money for charity.

The children have had talks on marketing and setting up a business, as well as meeting with suppliers of possible products. The teams each chose a charity to support and did market research to help them determine the best products to present to the Dragons. They then created an advertising campaign for the panel to see, alongside their presentation.

The Dragons were very impressed with the teams’ presentations, the level of detail that had gone into choosing their product and a supplier, as well as their financial forecasts and marketing campaigns.

In the end the Dragons decided to invest in two groups again this year and will be supporting the following projects:

Rock Life (Lara S, Nora and Serena), who will be selling Pinewood rock sweets

Axon (Ollie, Sasha and Alicia), who will be selling leather notebooks, which will come in a choice of colours and will be embossed with the Pinewood logo.

The Scholars who were not chosen will be split between the two teams and help them in the promotion and selling of their products.

Thank you to the Dragons and everyone who has supported the Scholars so far, particularly the parents who completed the online market research questionnaires sent out by the Scholars.

For more photos from the event please go to the Photo Gallery.

New Books For The Libraries

3L with their World Book Day prize for the Library April 17 013

On World Book Day we ran a design a door competition around the theme of our favourite books. Form 3L won the competition and as their prize were able to choose £100 worth of new books for the school Libraries.

Well done 3L!

Shadowing The Kate Greenaway Medal

Reading Group Greenaway Medal April 17 006

The Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded annually to a book of outstanding artistic quality, published over the last year. This term the Reading Group are shadowing the award. Every Thursday afternoon they will be reading one of the eight books shortlisted for the award and writing reviews which will be posted on Pinewood’s shadowing website. To follow their progress, you can log on to:

Then click on ‘P’ in the A-Z list of shadowing groups to find Pinewood’s page. Here you can read our blog and our reviews as well as vote in our poll and find out about our featured books and authors.

The winners will be announced on Monday 19th June, when we will find out if we agree with the team of expert judges!