lockdown 3.0

On the 4th of January, England announced a 3rd national lockdown. This led to the closures of schools and the uncertainty of examinations. Recently the government have release a survey (which you can find here) about the grading of these exams which I ask for you to fill out.

Over the past weeks, I have been partaking in online school which has been very different from last years online school (March to July). This is due to our lessons being live via. Teams rather than having work being set primarily on Show My Homework. At first, it was very hard to get into a routine but after two weeks, I have found my routine.

Throughout this new lockdown I am going to try and pick up some new hobbies such as learning some more guitar, learning a new language, teaching myself to write with my right hand, embroidery, crocheting, playing chess and doing computer art.

Here is a piece of art I completed a few days ago:

Lighthouse with abstract sky (:

the perks of online school

As I finish the first week of online school, I have found there to be some advantages and disadvantages to online learning. Here is my list below:

Advantages:

  • being able to have a hot drink in your lessons
  • getting distracted by your cat who’s trying to sit on your lap
  • not having to wear uniform so being able to wear comfy clothes
  • not having to wake up early in order to drive to school
  • being able to make a variety of lunches i.e. one day I would have pasta, another day a cheese toastie etc.
  • completing work at your own pace whilst getting to listen to music
  • understanding new software which is used for teaching

Disadvantages:

  • not seeing friends
  • having no school clubs
  • having a cat try and eat your pen whilst writing your notes or attempt to sit on your keyboard
  • sometimes feeling less motivated/ being more distracted easily
  • not easily being able to ask your friend for help (before then asking the teacher)
  • screen time increasing due to excessive time staring at a screen

What do you think some of the advantages and/or disadvantages are of online school? Let me know in the comment section below.

BLOGMAS – last day of 2020 school

Yesterday was the last day of school for me this year and after some reflection, I realise it was very strange and chaotic. The year started off well working upon my Extended Project Qualification and applying for head student however, soon it took a strange turn. I was not offered a head student role but instead was offered the Centenary position. I flew out to Poland for a day with the Holocaust Education Trust to visit Auschwitz and continued Sixth Form usually until March the 20th when everything changed. Suddenly it was online school, copying from a textbook whilst revising for my year 12 mocks.

During England’s first national lockdown, we were not in school instead completing our school work at home (and sometimes completing an online lesson). We completed our year 12 mock examinations at home. Over June and July, I was able to attend school twice which I blogged about here and here. Then it was the summer holidays before returning back face to face in September, this raised many concerns for me and so I wrote to my school expressing my view.

I survived the first half term and then the second half term where I submitted my UCAS application and applied to American universities abroad. I wrote to my MP and was filmed for the schools Christmas concert. Yesterday was a half day at school so we had virtual events within our form groups. This included completing a virtual Christmas quiz, watching a virtual assembly and watching houses got talent (which my house won!). Overall the day went very quickly and it was a good way to end the strange year. I am now waiting to see what the New Year has in store for school.

BLOGMAS 2020 – the Boar’s Head

Howdy y’all and welcome to Blogmas 2020. After a chaotic year, I believe that bringing back Blogmas will help with the holiday cheer. This year I am going to do it slightly differently, with blog posts of Blue teaching and crafting with you as well as an update of my week from me (I may also bring back the fan favourite Christmas cheese jokes!). To start day one off I am going to write about the Boar’s Head Christmas Carol.

the Boars Head

The Boar’s Head Carol is a tradition at my school (and many others) which is sung by the sixth formers in acapella (aged 16-18). This (and last year), I am taking part in singing the traditional song. The carol is about a sacrificing a boar and resenting it at the head of a Yuletide festival. It has been around since the 15th century and has been sung at my school for 100 years. Usually we perform it in the dark with lanterns during the beginning of our Christmas concert however going this year it is being filmed to be shown virtually.

The lyrics are as follows:

Chorus: Caput apri defero. Redens laudes domino. Caput apri defero. Redens laudes domino.

Verse 1: The Boar’s head in hand bear I, Bedecked with bays and rosemary. And I pray you my masters be merry, Quot est-is convivio.

Chorus: Caput apri defero. Redens laudes domino. Caput apri defero. Redens laudes domino.

Verse 2: The Boar’s head as I understand, Is the rarest dish in all the land. Which thus be decked with a gay garland, Let us servire coniuco.

Chorus: Caput apri defero. Redens laudes domino. Caput apri defero. Redens laudes domino.

Verse 3: Our steward hath provided this, In honour of the kind of bliss. Which in this day to be served is, In reginensi a trio.

Chorus: Caput apri defero. Redens laudes domino. Caput apri defero. Redens laudes domino.

Verse 1 repeat: The Boar’s head in hand bear I, Bedecked with bays and rosemary. And I pray you my masters be merry, Quot est-is convivio.

Black History Month 2020

October is Black History month so to celebrate I put up a display in my schools Mathematics Corridor. Here are seven important mathematicians and scientists who have defied

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson was a famous mathematician who earnt a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and French.

In 1953, she was hired by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ and worked analysing data from flight tests.

In 1962, Johnson was asked by John Glenn to rerun the numbers and equations which were calculated by the computer because he wanted to check the programme was correct. His space flight was then successful.

In 2015, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. This is the highest civilian honour any American can be awarded.

Jesse Ernest Wilkins Jr.

Jesse Ernest Wilkins Jr. attended the University of Chicago at the age of 13 (in 1936) and was one of the youngest students to attend. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at 17 and earnt his PhD at 19.

Wilkins worked with Arthur Compton and Enrico Fermi to research methods into producing fissionable nuclear materials focusing on plutonium-239. Unfortunately, he did not fully know the purpose of his research until the atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima.

In 1944, he worked on research with Eugene Wingner on neutron absorption which lead to the discovery of the Wigner-Wilkins approach to estimate the distribution of neutron energies within nuclear reactors.

He helped on the Manhattan project with a strong interest in the peaceful application of atomic energy.

In 1976, he became the president of the American Nuclear Society and later was the second African American to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering, which is one of the highest honours an engineer can receive.

Dorothy Vanughan

Dorothy Vanughan was a mathematician who in 1943 worked at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory and was assigned to the segregated ‘West Area Computing Unit’. The West Computers contributed to most areas of research at Langley.

In 1949, Dorothy was promoted to become NACA’s first black supervisor and was one of the few female supervisors.

Later in 1958 when NACA transitioned to NASA she joined the Analysis and Computation Division which was one of the first integrated groups at NASA. She became an expert of the FORTRAN programme and contributed to the Scot Launch Vehicle Program.

In 1971, she retired from NASA.

Benjamin Banneker

Benjamin Banneker owned a farm near Baltimore, USA and was largely self-educated in Astronomy and Mathematics.

He constructed a wooden clock which kept accurate time for more than 50 years and Banneker was able to accurately predict lunar and solar eclipses.

In 1791, Andrew Ellicott hire Banneker to help assist in surveying territory for the nation’s capital and worked in the observatory tent using a zenith sector to record movements of stars.

Between 1792-97, he published many Almanacs (annual calendars) which included astronomical calculations, opinion pieces, literature, medical and tidal information.

Benjamin wrote letters to Thomas Jefferson outlying his hypocrisy to enslave African Americans whilst they were fighting the British for independence. He also attached his Almanac to the letter.

Jefferson acknowledged his letter and, in his response, stated how he had sent Banneker’s Almanac to Monsieur de Condorcet.

Banneker gained widespread support of abolitionist societies in Maryland and Pennsylvania for his views against slavery.

Katherine Adebola Okikiolu

Kate Okikiolu developed an interest for Mathematics in high school and in 1985 attended Newham College at the University of Cambridge and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Mathematics.

From here, she then studied in the United States to research for her doctorate and became an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and in 1974 she became a full-time professor.

In 1991 she gained her PhD for her thesis on The Analogue of the Strong Szego Limit Theorem on the Torus and the 3-Sphere.

From 1992-95 she worked as an assistant professor at Princeton University and produced two papers whilst here.

She became an assistant visiting professor at MIT from 1995 to 1997 and produced three joint papers with Victor Guillemin.

She joined the University of California at San Diego in 1997 as an associated professor where, during this time, she was awarded the Sloan Research Fellowship and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Throughout her time here she delivered many lectures and talks including three talks at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2011 she joined the Mathematics department at Johns Hopkins University, USA.

David Blackwell

David Blackwell was an American mathematician and statistician whom in 1935, age 16, attended the University of Illinois and graduated with a Bachelors degree, then a Masters and finally earnt a Doctorate.

Later, Blackwell took a position at Howard University which he described as being the “ambition of every black scholar” and after 3 years he became a full professor and became the Head of the Department of Mathematics.

In 1954, he left to take a position as a professor at the University of California, Berkeley and in 1956 he became a chairman of the Statistics Department.

In 1965, he was elected to the National Academy of Science.

In 1979, he received the John von Neumann Theory Prize for his work on dynamic programming.

In 1986, Blackwell also earnt the R.A Fisher Award from the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies.

Mamokgethi Phakeng

Mamokgethi Phakeng achieved a Bachelors degree in Pure Mathematics at the University of North-West, South Africa and a master degree in Mathematics Education at the University of Witwatersrand where in 2002 she became the first black female South African to obtain a PhD in Mathematics Education.

Phakeng became the first female president of the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa during 2002-2006. In 2007 she was elected a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and in 2009 she became an honourary member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.

From 2011 to 2016 she became the first female president of the Convocation of the University of Wiwatersrand.

In 2014, the CEO Magazine named her Africa’s most influential female academic.

In 2016, the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa awarded her the prestigious Businesswoman of the Year Award in the education category.

On top of this, Mamokgethi has gained many awards such as the Doctor of Science from the University of Bristol and held the Mellon Award from 1998 to 2000.

Autumn Term One Review

For the last 8 weeks, I have been settling back into my school routine (COVID-19 edition). Even through the last few weeks, school have made many changes such as now making face coverings compulsory in all shared areas as well as making the loud noisy common room a quieter study area. It is very weird having my science lessons in a DT room and my Maths lessons in random classrooms however luckily the majority of my Chemistry classes are in a science lab.

For the first few days of the year I was very stressed over returning to school. We were sent our reopening plan and I was unhappy with the changes in place and was very anxious however, I have slowly adjusted to school. It is not as strict as it was before Summer but there are specific doors and areas of the school we are allowed in. The weather has been fairly warm so I have been able to sit outside rather than in the hot common room. However, as it neared the end of September and start of October, the weather got colder so I have been sitting inside more often.

school work

This term at school, we have been focusing on sorting out UCAS and our personal statements as well as sorting out my American applications. Halfway through the term we had Recovery Assessments to catch up on our work from March. These tests were low stakes so it was more for the teachers to check our understanding compared to being grades. As part of my USA application, I have been partaking in many virtual webinars in my evenings and attending UK open days.

I have also been continuing my extracurricular activities from dancing weekly on a Wednesday evening to completing virtual Beaver meetings on a Monday. I also am counting watching Home and Away as an extracurricular! Over the past month or so, I have nearly finished watching The Flash season six and participated in DC’s virtual comic con.

Overall, this term has improved as the weeks have past. The leaves are falling and soon we will be converting back to GMT time. Summer is over, and autumn is in swing getting closer and closer to Christmas. During half term, I am planning to complete some school work, revise and finish up my university applications. On top of this, I am going to relax and carve pumpkins whilst decorating the house for Halloween.

three weeks postponed exams

On Monday, the government announced that the A-level and GCSE examinations will be pushed back by three weeks –https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-54508851. This is not a sufficient amount of time to catch up on 5 months of missed school. The government needs a Plan B!

In my three extra weeks instead of ‘revising’ I am going to:

  1. sing happy birthday repeatedly and consecutively 181,440 times
  2. watch the film Pandemic on loop 328.7 times
  3. catch up on some sleep
  4. procrastinate for 10 hours, finally revise for 2 hours, eat and sleep for 12 hours. repeat
  5. listen to ‘I’m still standing’ by Elton John 9,969 times
  6. if I were to go on a mission to Mars, I would only get 7.6% through my journey (or 3.8%) before I’d have to turn around to take my exams)
  7. read the Great expectations by Charles Darwin roughly 49.5 times – though I am sure I’ll get bored of reading it by the third time

But one thing I cannot do is catch up on 5 months of missed school work 🙁

if you have read this far please can you fill in this petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/326066

Summer 2020

Tomorrow I will be returning to school for my very last year (year 13), I am slightly nervous and I have written this blog post to recap my summer.

  1. Caught up on some school work – this included some of my maths and chemistry which after taking my online course, I became behind
  2. Read quite a few books – such as Red Rising, Red Queen, The Summer I turned Pretty, reread the Selection series and more
  3. Watched Netflix – including Scorpion, iZombie, the Order, Vampire Diaries etc.
  4. Home and Away via. My5 – I’ve been getting very behind on this show but it is amazing
  5. Did a tiny bit of revision – this was reading my flashcards through from year 12 and creating a few more resources
  6. Visited my family – this was lovely as I had not seen my family since Christmas
  7. Met with some friends – I was able to catch up since lock down and even saw my friend who moved to Manchester
  8. Watched too many movies – including Chalet Girl, Camp Rock 1&2, Feel the Beat, The Kissing Booth 2 and more
  9. Took some photos – I learnt some new skills and practised star photography with Comet Neowise
  10. Played guitar – learning some new songs and chords
  11. Spent time in the garden relaxing
  12. Stroked my cats
  13. Went on a 30km charity hike – blog post coming soon
  14. Wrote some letters
  15. Tweeted for changed to my ALevels in 2021
  16. Played on my Switch – changed my island in Animal Crossing New Horizons and visited my sisters island
  17. Celebrated my sisters 14th birthday – in my eyes she is still 12
  18. Practised french plaiting my hair
  19. Created a photo book – blog post also coming soon
  20. Went camping by the seaside
  21. Cooked lots of different meals – including pizza, burgers and coffee cake
  22. Attended some virtual camps
  23. Attended virtual open days

Last day of year 12

Two weeks ago, I went back to school again for my last official day at school in year 12. I got mini lessons from each of my subjects where we discussed some of the work we completed over the past few months as well as completing some practice questions. The day was slightly similar to the week before when we went into school, keeping 2 metres apart etc. However, the timings of the school day were slightly different. Sis84 also got to spend an hour at school on the same day I went in, she thoroughly enjoyed seeing some of her friends.

Since going into school, I have completed an online Cyber Course where I learnt skills such as Penetration testing, Encryption, Open Source Intelligence and Digital Forensics. It was a virtual course across the country and at the end of the course we got to do some ‘Capture the Flag’ activities which my team did not do very well in. Overall, I learnt many new skills and am inspired to look into Cyber Security in the future.

Finally, I have also completed my EPQ project on left-handedness. In the last official week of year 12, I completed my presentation (again virtually) as well as handing in my final essay.

All this concluded my year 12 and I am looking forward to seeing how year 13 turns out!

First day at school

2m spray painted signs

This week I went back into school for the day. It was very weird to be back after 107 days without being inside the building. Yes, you read that right, 107 days defeating Phineas and Ferb record of ‘104 days of summer vacation and school comes along just to end it …’.

When I arrived at school, there was a strict layout in place and so we entered through the main school gate. We were always 2 metres apart and even got to wear our own home clothes! On top of that, it was a late morning start at 9:30 am compared to the usual 8:30 am start.

Kahoot winner

For the first half of the day we did some well being activities discussing how working at home has been going and how it differs from being at school. We had a one-on-one with our form tutors and also did a kahoot about lock down news (where I placed first). The second part was creating SMART targets within each of our subjects.

Some signs placed around school

For lunch, we were able to sit outside in our bubble and caught up over the past 3 months.

For the second half of the day we completed some UCAS work. We also discussed what we needed to do over the summer holidays such as writing our personal statements and researching universities as well as different courses. During this I also had a quick EPQ meeting with my supervisor. This led to the end of the day where we used the one way system to leave school.

Sitting outside at lunch

Our classrooms were set up with desks being 2m apart as well as only having a small number of students (I had 7 other people in my bubble). Overall, the day was very useful allthough it was very weird being back at school again after so many months of learning from home.