Looking Back at British Science Week: Connections in English and German  

As you may know, we brought the British Science Week theme of Connections to life throughout Fyling Hall. It gave us a wonderful opportunity to explore new angles across most of the subjects. English and German lessons used the theme in two very different ways to each other. However, both delved turned to history. They gave students a fantastic opportunity to consider new information, learn some interesting context to the subjects and challenge themselves. These experiences beyond the regular curriculum help to foster a love of learning. Read on and perhaps learn something new yourself!

By Natasha Milner and Regine Trotter

Caeser’s Cipher

During English lessons students were studying Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. We combined our studies with some decoding and cipher-ing. As serendipity would have it, Julius Caesar had his own cipher called Caesar’s Cipher, which he used as part of his military tactics. It allowed him to pass messages on during his battle campaigns.

These pictures show the year 8 students trying to figure out messages and write their own messages using this Cipher.

Connections Between The English and German Languages

In German, we took Science Week from the linguistic angle. So, not so much looking at the ‘Science’ side, but rather investigating the connections between the English and the German language, on a historic level.  

We first looked at how there are different families of languages, with a focus on Indo-European languages. We zoomed in on first Celtic, then Germanic languages, and asked the question: Why is English so much more similar to German than it is to Welsh or Gaelic? This investigation took us to the Germanic tribes of the Jutes, Angles and Saxons. Who, around 1,600 years ago, went on a journey over the North Sea to settle in England, bringing with them their language which then developed into Old English.  

The Second Consonant Shift

Here, the pupils got a taster of linguistic research when they investigated the “Second Consonant Shift”. This was a systematic change in consonants, which makes the key difference between English and German, and explains why it is “pepper, salt, thing” in English, but “Pfeffer, Salz, Ding” in German.  

We also learnt about how English is connected with other European languages: What words the Vikings brought with them, and what was the influence of the Normans? Is vocabulary from other languages still integrated into English today? And is English having an influence on German as well? 

Being a small, independent school we enjoy a low student to staff ratio at Fyling Hall, which gives us a greater ability to nurture students and build an interest in learning. Contact us to learn more or talk about how we can support you / your child.