Upper Sixth Seminars Provide Food for Thought

Sixth Form 16-18
Posted on: June 22nd 2020

Pathways Logo plain

Over the last few weeks, Upper Sixth students have been engaging in a wide range of seminars linked to their chosen university degree courses as part of the Preparing for the Future Programme.  

Those wishing to study psychology have explored topics including ‘The Science of Happiness’, ‘Why We Sleep’ and ‘Autism: an evolutionary perspective’; chemists have investigated methods of how to make c-c bonds in organic synthesis and the hydrogen line emission spectrum; mathematicians looked at conic sections, differential geometry and rates of change whilst artists explored architecture inspired by simplistic forms. Business students discussed ‘Corporate Social Responsibility in Fast Fashion’ with Mr Murtagh-Howard, geography students considered whether urban design can transform our lives and philosophy students explored the nature and existence of time with Mr Winter.  

Feedback from the students has been very positive with many commenting on how the seminars have given them plenty of food for thought as well as providing a beneficial insight into University studies:  

“The weekly History seminars we have been attending have offered a wide variety of themes, offering different and uniquely interesting opportunities to learn something new every week. While some people found the first theme of epidemics and pandemics highly interesting in relation to current events, those who prefer to learn about people and politics were also able to flourish in the second seminar while learning about Ronald Reagan.  

Margaret Thatcher SeminarWe were also able to extend beyond our History A Level course in which we learnt about women’s civil rights in America, as we touched on the role of women in world history, with special emphasis on Margaret Thatcher - something that was guaranteed to stimulate an engaging debate. The seminar experience has helped to prepare us for university discussions, allowing everyone in the ‘room’ to have a turn expressing their opinions, and it is these active exchanges that have set it apart from normal lessons, helping us to learn to formulate our own opinions from our own research, rather than simply leaning on teachers for this. We are really looking forward to this week’s seminar on photographs and paintings in world history, as this is a completely new way of looking at the past that we have never come across before.”   - Ciara K and Elizabeth K. 



“In the Biology seminars, we have looked at a very wide range of topics such as ‘plant-based medicines to combat cancer’ and ‘The future of the oceans’. Getting the opportunity to learn about so many unique topics has been my favourite part of the seminar series as many of these areas I had little prior knowledge of. It has also been great to practice reading more challenging scientific articles and this, in particular, has been excellent preparation for the more complex reading that features on an undergraduate Biology course.”  - Alex S.

Biology Oceans Seminar

“This term I have been attending the Chemistry seminars. We have covered a range of topics, including reagents used for extending carbon chains through C-C bond forming reactions, the chemistry of opioids, the influence of hydrogen line emission spectra on the model of the atom and doping in sport. These have been really interesting sessions where we would each research the topic beforehand and then discuss what we had learnt and are useful preparation for the way universities teach.”  - Luke F.

“Seminars, held by Mr Honey, have given me an opportunity to Shipping Container Architecture Seminarhave an insight into architecture. The initial stage of our seminars was us being handed out our briefs with individual tasks. Mine was on shipping container architecture, which I had not known about before. It turned out to be such an amazing style of architectural construction which was fully based on experimentation! I have taken this experimental approach and developed a series of sketches which eventually developed into a full-on Ai (Adobe Illustrator) project which turned out to be my final visualisation of the initial idea.  

These seminars were especially useful for me, because they helped me realise how much freedom of expression and idea I would be given at the university, and that only via interaction and communication the best possible result could be achieved.”  - Daria S.