When the school first opened its doors to 26 pupils in 1910 , it occupied a double storey building in West Street with the kitchen serving as the science laboratory .From these humble beginnings Glenwood, and its Science Department, have grown to become one of the province’s leaders in high school education. Described many years ago as “an academic school with a technical and scientific bias'', Glenwood has continued to provide a steady supply of learners to the engineering and science departments of many institutions of higher learning.
Glenwood has five science laboratories in addition to the newly revamped Science Centre. Thanks to a generous grant from the Victor Daitz Foundation, the school can now boast two fully equipped ‘‘state of the art '' laboratories and a 60 seat lecture theatre. Besides being used by the senior students on a daily basis, these laboratories are used by the ‘‘GAMES'' programme in the afternoons to educate and stimulate an interest in science in primary school learners from disadvantaged backgrounds.
In addition to the normal curriculum, learners are involved in numerous extra-curricular activities such as the National Science Olympiad, the University of KZN Bridge Building competition and the FFS Science Expo for Young Scientists. Furthermore, top Grade 12 students are involved in a remedial / tutorial programme where fellow students who are struggling with the subject are assisted. There is also an active Science Club that meets most afternoons. In addition to two reptile tanks there is a marine fish tank.
At the present moment in South Africa, there is a dire shortage of qualified manpower in fields requiring a mathematical and scientific background. In the 2011 matric exams, 72 learners passed science with more than 50%, with a similar number in mathematics. Glenwood is one of 92 ‘‘Dinaledi’’ schools in KZN. These are schools that have been specially selected for their outstanding results in Mathematics and Physical Science in the final Grade 12 examinations. In 2011 Glenwood was ranked 3rd in KZN with 26 distinctions.
Physical Sciences investigate physical and chemical phenomena. This is done through scientific inquiry, application of scientific models, theories and laws in order to explain and predict events in the physical environment.
This subject also deals with society's need to understand how the physical environment works in order to benefit from it and responsibly care for it. All scientific and technological knowledge, including Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), is used to address challenges facing society. Indigenous knowledge is knowledge that communities have held, used or are still using. This knowledge has helped communities survive while protecting the environment for millennia. Some examples on indigenous knowledge lends themselves to explanation using science concepts as we know them, other examples do not; this is still knowledge however. In the subject Physical Sciences challenges such as the safe disposal of chemical waste, responsible utilisation of resources and the environment, alternative energy sources are addressed.
The purpose of Physical Sciences is to equip learners with investigating skills relating to physical and chemical phenomena, for example, lightning and solubility. Examples of some of the skills that are relevant for the study of Physical Sciences are classifying, communicating, measuring, designing an investigation, drawing and evaluating conclusions, formulating models, hypothesising, identifying and controlling variables, inferring, observing and comparing, interpreting, predicting, problem solving and reflective skills.
Physical Sciences promotes knowledge and skills in scientific inquiry and problem solving; the construction and application of scientific and technological knowledge; an understanding of the nature of science and its relationships to technology, society and the environment.
Physical Sciences prepare learners for future learning, specialist learning, employment, citizenship, holistic development, socio-economic development, and environmental management. Learners choosing Physical Sciences as a subject in Grades 10-12, including those with barriers to learning, can have improved access to: academic courses in Higher Education; professional career paths related to applied science courses and vocational career paths. The Physical Sciences plays an increasingly important role in the lives of all South Africans owing to their influence on scientific and technological development, which are necessary for the country's economic growth and the social wellbeing of its people.
Six main knowledge areas inform the subject Physical Sciences. These are:
• Matter and Materials
• Chemical Systems
• Chemical Change
• Waves, Sound and Light
• Electricity and Magnetism
The subject Sport and Exercise Science involves the holistic and systematic study of the human body which includes the physiological, biomechanical, psychological, sociological and motor development aspects of human movement in various contexts.
The study of Sport and Exercise Science enables boys to explore those concepts that are essential for understanding the human body during different forms of physical activity. Boys will develop scientific inquiry, problem solving, critical thinking and other skills. They will be able to apply scientific knowledge to their own personal well-being and to the advancement of their performance in sport, exercise, fitness and recreation.
The subject enables boys to understand fitness principles in exercise, fitness, sport and recreation as well as the long-term physiological response of the human body to exercise.
Sport and Exercise Science in the FET band develops the knowledge, understanding and skills to enable young people to realise their expectations in sport at various levels.
The subject broadens the range of career options for learners by being relevant and responsive to the employment prospects.
Boys who choose this subject must offer either Physical Science or Life Science as part of their package. A minimum of 25 boys must take this subject in order for the course to take place.