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    ‘Take One Picture’ at the Prep

    Pupils take part in the National Gallery’s project to inspire a lifelong love of art and learning

    Prep pupils have this week taken part in the National Gallery’s ‘Take One Picture’ project, which aims to inspire a lifelong love of art and learning. Their work has focused on a famous 18th century painting ‘An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump’ (1768) by British artist Joseph Wright – with teachers encouraging children to respond creatively to its themes and subject matter, historical context, and composition.

    After examining the painting, children in Year 1 had fun making bird feeders, which they put out in the garden. They also made Styrofoam birds which they flew and then measured the distance of their flight. Year 3 pupils made planets, examined constellations, tracked bird migration and made a mural to freedom, while Year 4 began the week with a visit from local artist and wildlife illustrator Suzy Avery. Ms Avery discussed her bird paintings and demonstrated how she works in watercolour. Pupils then examined feathers using magnifying glasses, drew and photographed them, and learned how to edit photos on iPads. Wednesday saw an exciting trip to the Senior School to conduct bell jar and vacuum pump experiments. 

    Meanwhile, Year 6 considered the science aspect of the painting in two different ways. As a year group, they researched significant scientific discoveries through history then planned and prepared short dramas (including a 'freeze frame' of the 'Eureka' moment) which were filmed using the iPads and the iMovie app. Some fabulous and very entertaining recreations of moments such as Thomas Edison's invention of the lightbulb, Jane Goodall's studies of primates in Africa and the work of the first computer programmer, 19th century Duchess, Ada Lovelace, were produced. Additionally, in form groups, pupils looked at the challenging topic of the use of animals in research and experimentation - culminating in some lively debates at the end of the week.