Biology: The Bede’s Ecosystem


The Bede’s Science department has been making the most of the warmer weather, with Lower Fifth double-award science classes, led by Miss Lewis and accompanied by Dr Cumpstey, seeking out wildlife in the Bede’s Lake.

The class had recently been learning about competition and adaptation in plants and animals as part of their core Biology GCSE and were curious to discover which life forms have been thriving in the heart of Upper Dicker – besides themselves of course!


“After donning wellies, we went in search of real-life examples of water-borne insects whose characteristic we had been studying in the school grounds,” Dr Cumpstey explained.

“The students were able to use their discoveries to elucidate food webs and chains which exist in our own environment, and relate how the school's activities can impact upon them.”


With Bede’s Science faculty empowered to make their lessons as practical as possible, GCSE Biology groups alone engage in over 18 practical experiments across the course of the two years of GCSE study.

Presently they are also currently part of a scheme monitoring the growth of seeds sent to the International Space Station and back again in partnership with the UK Space Agency and British astronaut Tim Peake and are also working with the Bede’s Animal Management department, breeding endangered species.


“The importance of engaging in practical science cannot be overstated,” Dr Cumpstey added, “as unless students get hands-on it can be hard to connect the things they are learning to reality. By growing seeds or fishing about in the School’s lake, Science is really brought to life – hopefully in ways they will never forget.”

With many of the species recorded, measured and analysed, all samples were returned to the pond afterwards and treated with respect throughout.


Now back in the lab, the students are now using the data they collected to visualise what they have learned, scrutinising their findings and writing hypotheses about how human and environmental factors impact upon the The Park’s ecosystem more widely.


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