Badgemore Pupils Learn About the Heart Using New Virtual Reality Technology

Most children don’t get to see or study a real heart until they’re in secondary school and then it’s only a sheep’s heart.

Year 5 and 6 children at Badgemore School got the opportunity to test out a new science lesson on the heart which has been developed by The Heart Academy which through virtual reality technology offers a unique experience of what the heart looks like, how a healthy heart works and what happens to your heart when you make particular lifestyle choices.

At the start of the lesson the pupils are asked to do a baseline test on the knowledge of the heart which is then repeated again at the end of the lesson to see how much the children have learned.

The lesson sees the children use virtual reality headsets to see inside the heart and learning through an online computer game.  They are then asked to complete a heart diagram worksheet marking the different parts and colouring in the journey of the blood through the heart (red for lots of oxygen and blue for low oxygen).

Lucy Gowing from The Heart Academy said, “It is a completely new way of learning, the virtual reality technology is brand new.  We are using Oculus Go headsets which travel through the heart through the perspective of a blood cell.  So it really gives the children a new insight into how the heart looks and works. It helps them remember the names of the chambers and the valves and hopefully will help them realise how complicated it is and therefore how much they need to actually look after it.  Our plan is to follow on with a physical activity and the heart lesson – why it is so important to keep active followed by healthy eating and the heart, and making healthy choices.  We are trying to tick off all the Key Stage 2 curriculum points without adding to the workload for the teacher, just enhancing it.  We’ve had some really good feedback already and the scores from the tests before and after with many starting with a score 1/2 out 10 increase at the end to 9/10 out of 10 across the board.  It’s been a long time in development (about 1 1/2 to 2 years) so we’re really excited to be rolling it out.”

Tim Hoskins, Year 5/6 Teacher said, “It is a real privilege for Badgemore to work with The Heart Academy and to have this opportunity to explore the heart in a realistic way. The children loved the experience and hopefully it has given them an insight into the workings of the heart and just how precious it is.”

Pupil, Oscar Princivalle said, “I didn’t know much about the heart.  Only that it pumps the blood around the body.  It’s been really fun way of learning.”  David Weston added, “The VR headsets are better than any other VR headset I’ve used before.”

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