Belhaven Hill School

Co-ed Boarding & Day School for ages 5-13

Mr Pooks News

Mr Pook's News!

Computer Science and Outdoor Update

Ahead of individual reports at the end of the Summer term on the first year of Computer Science, Mr Pook outlines below what has been covered so far in Computer Science and Outdoor Education and the plans for next term.

These last two terms have been a transition period for Belhaven Hill, witnessing the development of formalised Computer Science and Outdoor Education programmes. It is our intention that there will be official reports on these subjects from the Summer term once the rhythms and patterns of both subjects have been ingrained into the fabric of Belhaven life. I hope to explain in this brief note what we have achieved over the last two terms, the thinking behind it, and the direction of travel for the future.

Computer Science teaches computational thinking and problem solving as well as developing coding skills.

During the Autumn Term, all children used a block-based programming language to programme Spheros, small spherical robots. These lessons were designed to be engaging and test problem solving which I believe are the first steps before the further development of Computer Science.

This term we have continued to use the Spheros at home with the younger children while the older children have been designing objects to print on the new 3D printer. After half term, Forms 1 & 2 also had a short introduction to programming a MicroBit. 

Next term, the children will get their hands on the MicroBits and also look at what makes up the inside of a computer.  The school has an ambitious three to five year plan for Computer Science which will include programming Raspberry pies and the building of a “CreaterSpace”.

All the children receive an Outdoor Education lessons which invariably means a visit to the outdoor classroom located in the "shrub" whatever the weather! We have covered all manner of subjects since the start of the year, from identifying bugs to safely using camp stoves and from outside games to building improvised shelters. I think that the lessons give multiple benefits – they give a break from the pressure of academic life, they allow all children a chance to flourish, and they build resilience. We are looking at options for Expeditions in the summer term but with Covid in the background these plans are yet to be finalised!

I hope for this gives a good outline of what I'm hoping to achieve. I'm always happy to talk more about either subject - it's a shame we can't do that in person at the moment but please feel free to drop me a line.

Will Pook