Doing Da Vinci at NHEHS
The Da Vinci Programme at NHEHS encourages girls to take a cross-curricular approach to learning. Focusing on current events and learning new skills through debate and collaboration, the sessions require no prior knowledge of a particular subject, but an open and inquiring mind is a must-have! Girls from Year 10 are given a choice of two topics to participate in, ranging from “Brexit: Deal or No Deal” to “Mean Girls in Classical and Ancient History.”
With the recent 2018-19 launch of our Year 10 Da Vinci Programme, we thought we would ask one of last year’s students how she benefited from the polymath approach to learning.
Hannah Schroeder, Year 11
What did you enjoy about the programme overall?
Hannah: Firstly, you could choose which one of the two topics appealed to you most, but all of them went beyond what you would usually cover for school work or the curriculum. Often, the teachers’ enthusiasm and the debates around the subject would lead us into totally new, but linked areas of fluid discussion as we followed the flow of debate and opinion. I really enjoyed the variety of sessions – some encouraged discussions in small sub-groups or as a large group as a whole. The programme was more relaxed than I had anticipated as I had expected more of a “lecture” format, but as a result it was much more interactive and fun.
What new skills have you learned?
Hannah: The programme has helped my general knowledge hugely and was great for building on what we have learned as part of the curriculum. Also, my debating skills beyond the classroom and ability to think outside the box have improved too. We were encouraged to question things and not always simply go along with what the majority think. I would come out of the sessions with my head buzzing with new ideas and facts – then when I arrived home I would amaze my parents and family with this new knowledge and then start up a new debate with them!
Have you been able to use any of these new skills or knowledge in your GCSE work?
Hannah: Miss Croft ran a fantastic maths-based session on card tricks involving probability where you can predict how a trick will turn out. This tied in neatly with a GCSE maths section on permutations and combinations. The session on The Chemical Origin of Life really helped my overall understanding of the subject.
Which was the most fun topic?
Hannah: We loved the Mathematics of Card Tricks! We also really enjoyed the Swinging 1660s session where the science and history departments collaborated to show how interlinked historical context and the scientific innovations of the day are.
The most surprising topic was Miss Prendergast’s one on “Detecting deception – An art or science?” showed how people lie and how to detect that – through micro expressions, truth serums and lie detectors! It also gave us the chance to learn about Psychology – a subject that we could take for A Level, but we do not study at GCSE.
Would you recommend the Da Vinci Programme to the current Year 10s?