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Francesca Happé

School Memories

How old were you when you became interested in science?
I think I've always been interested in how things worked. I remember persuading my mother to buy bulls eyes from the butchers, so I could see how the eye worked. I was five years old at the time but, sadly, I was too squeamish to dissect them!

Are there any particular people who got you interested in science?
My grandfather worked for Technicolor, as a scientist, and made some real innovations, which I greatly admired. My parents always encouraged me to ask questions.

What are your memories of science at school?
I remember enjoying science. However, it wasn't until I went to University that I really realized that science allowed you to test new ideas. At school the science experiments you do are someone else's idea, and you know ahead of time what you are supposed to find. The real excitement of science that you can find out something new, that nobody knew before didn't come through from school science lessons.

How do you think children learn science best?
I would think the best thing would be to encourage them to investigate new ideas and hypotheses in areas they are interested in. If possible, give them the experience of coming up with a new idea and testing it to find out whether they are right.

What were your interests and hobbies as a teenager?
As a child I really enjoyed making things, also drawing and painting. I like music, and enjoyed singing and playing classical guitar (rather badly!) .

What made you decide to study science post-16 and what subjects did you study?
From about the age of fifteen I decided I wanted to study psychology, although I didn't really know what it was. I liked writing, and also liked science, and psychology seemed a good combination of arts and science. I did A-levels in biology, classical civilization, and English literature.

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curriculum materials to support the teaching and learning scientific enquiry for 11 to 14 years olds