May 31, 2021

Upper Sixth’s Inspired Individual Projects

As our 2021 IB cohort prepare to make the transition from students to Old Leightonians, Individual Project Week has been inspiring their learning beyond the Park. True to their various ambitions and interests, each project has proved different from the next. Nevertheless, a common thread between many is the overlap between the creative and scientific disciplines.

Helen Taylor, Head of Sixth Form, commented “The motivation behind Individual Project Week was to give Upper Sixth the opportunity to creatively explore a topic of real interest without the confines of a strict brief. Students were encouraged to consider what might help them prepare for their next life experience, whether that be pursuing a degree or taking a different path.”

Catherine, who hopes to pursue a career in Biology and Toxicology chose to invest her time in identifying the mysterious poison used to kill late King Hamlet in Shakespeare’s tragedy, as well as exploring just why pregnant women crave spicy food.

Explaining her motivations for choosing these questions, Catherine said “I generally find poisons and venoms very interesting, and I enjoy reading and watching Shakespeare so it combines two of my interests! Recently I have been reading a lot and one of those books was ‘A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie.’ This book looked into the uses of poisons in the novels of Agatha Christie and I think it may have inspired me to investigate further into the uses of poisons in other pieces of media.”

She continued “This research project week has allowed and encouraged me to indulge my curiosity and write on topics I want to research and speculate on without having to submit it for an exam or coursework!

“Both of these projects are related to biology and the investigation into the poisons is highly focused on toxicology which is the area I plan to specialise in. I have read many scientific research papers and I feel I have a better grasp now of the vernacular and protocols associated with scientific papers. Along with my Extended Essay, this project week has prepared me to be reading scientific papers, understand them, and evaluate them critically.”

“I always enjoy being able to blend my interests and create something from it. Leighton Park has encouraged me to do that more and more which is something I am incredibly grateful for. English and the Sciences have always been my favourite subjects and the areas in which I read most beyond the syllabus and so it made sense to me to try to find a project that would allow me to combine my love of the two.”

Field House Boarder, Markel, was keen for his project to benefit others as much as himself. At the end of the Spring Term, he and his peers put forward grassroots charity, Boots2Africa as a cause they wanted to support and champion as a House. And so, since April, the group have been helping change the game.

Boots2Africa work to improve the life quality and chances of children playing sport in Africa. They are able to do this by supporting beneficiary organisations with the donation of boots, kits and accessories.

Field House have been overwhelmed with the number of football boot and trainer donations they have received from the generous community. Alongside, Jan Bell, Matron of Field House, Markel has continued to head up the initiative and described recently cleaning the boots as “a humbling experience that made me realise how lucky we are.”

On Tuesday 25th May, Iain Finch, Co-Founder of Boot2Africa, paid the School a visit to collect the goods. Markel, having much in common with Iain’s own sons as a centre mid in the much-loved game, was eager to learn how the charity began.

“When I met Iain, I was surprised as to how something could start from almost nothing. It truly was a great experience to listen to him when he was explaining how the charity came about. It showed me that if you want to help it is very simple and you just have to be dedicated and willing to put the work in for the greater good amongst other communities. A small act of kindness will go a long way, because of us many kids in Ghana will be able to enjoy the sport so many of us love.”

“I have enjoyed the fact that we’ve become closer as a community and managed to get almost 100 boots. In addition, to think that kids in Africa will enjoy the boots, it made the experience a whole lot better.” Reflected Markel.

Other projects taken on as part of Individual Project Week have included; pottery work, learning Korean, looking at the effects of video games and blue light on sleep, deep diving into the School’s history with Archivist, John Allinson and depicting astronomical research through painting!

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