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The Magical Effect of Harry Potter and Education

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Posted by: sue
November 13, 2007, 09:44 PM

In news that surely would make Hermione proud, the Daily Mail is reporting today about a school in the UK that has experienced a significant turnaround in the academic performance of their students after introducing a Harry Potter curriculum this year. While the use of Harry Potter in schools is nothing new, the paper reports that a primary school in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, England "has jumped from the bottom 25 per cent of schools nationally to just outside the top 5 per cent over the last three years after deciding to let pupils pick a theme for the curriculum each term." A recent inspection of the maths lessons where "the children were motivated to learn about subtraction by pretending that it is a magic formula created by Harry Potter. Pupils were not allowed to answer questions without first saying a spell - "numerus subtracticus", which they devised themselves.The official report describes achievement at the school as "outstanding."

Headteacher Donna Chambers said: "Other schools do topic-based learning, but not to the extent we do."With maths, the teacher will say 'today we are learning how to do inverse operation'. They put on their Harry Potter hat and wands, and work it out in their books."

Other examples of the Harry Potter cirriculum include the following:

  • Art: imagine what Harry Potter would do if he painted a version of Vincent Van Gogh's 1889 masterpiece The Starry Night. The Potter-inspired versions featured witches, dragons and other beasties.
  • History: the history of flight, starting with a discussion of Harry Potter's broomstick, then discussing if that is real and tracing the real development of aviation, including the Wright brothers.
  • Geography: comparing the children's home town of Arnold, Nottinghamshire, with Goathland, North Yorkshire, where the scenes of Hogsmead Station were shot for the Potter films.
  • Science: put a stick of celery in a beaker of blue dye and see how it takes in the fluid, turning the celery from green to blue. Discuss whether Harry Potter could use this to turn one of his foes a different colour.
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