‘All is One’ refers to the nature of the entire universe, where everything we see is made out of the same tiny building blocks. Year 5 and 6 pupils at DeBohun Primary School set out to discover the otherwise invisible world of the fundamental building blocks in everyday life. The project, developed in partnership between DeBohun Primary School and Dr Francisco Diego from University College London (UCL), was funded by the Royal Society Partnership Grants scheme.
In a series of practical sessions Dr Diego and Shirin Sheikh-Bahai (De Bohun’s Science Co-ordinator) enabled the pupils to develop their observation skills and to discover more about the nature of the universe and the world they live in. A Year 5 pupil commented ‘We’ve been learning about molecules and how they are not the beginning of everything. Everything goes smaller and smaller and smaller, though we’ve not discovered everything yet …. So going from cell… molecules form together to make cells, atoms form together to make molecules, electrons, neutrons and protons form together to make….’
The initial session focused on the use of optical microscopes. Pupils looked at objects such as onion skin and mobile phone screens to find out what they are made of. Students then expanded on this discovery by working with physical models to reproduce atomic and molecular structures. Pupils also had the opportunity to look through a filtered telescope to see the surface of the sun; they worked with several hand held spectroscopes to see the colours produced by the light from a variety of light sources, including the sun. Finally, pupils handled real meteorites and illustrated them as the building blocks of planets like the earth. This being the last piece of the puzzle, the pupils finally organised the building blocks of the universe in a time sequence of assembly processes all the way from the big bang to today along a physical time line.
At the completion of the project, the pupils displayed their work in a one day exhibition, where they explained their experiments and results to younger pupils, teachers, family members and a reporter from the Enfield Independent. Following the same format of the exhibition, the pupils then participated very successfully in ‘Your Universe’, the UCL festival of astronomy. This was such a success that UCL plans to invite the pupils to run workshops at further festivals.