Monthly Archives: September 2016

Plants

Of course, we also looked at the old faithful, plants. I’m sure that all special school classes grow plants every year, but the students I was working with had not been credited with their knowledge on our recording system, so off we went again.

Most of them were able to label a simple plant diagram, but struggled with the concept that trees were also plants, I think because we call the stem of a tree a ‘trunk’ and they look quite different!

What do plants need to grow

The experiment involved planting cress seeds in egg boxes (again, low cost equipment that was readily available). Students worked in small groups to plan their experiment, each member of staff having been told where to guide their group in terms of which of heat, light and water would be missing.

A week later and cress seeds and sprouts were removed from dark cupboards, the tops of lockers (sorry caretaker) and the fridge. Some brief discussion how being in the fridge wasn’t a fair test ensued – cold and dark – but students all were able to see that to grow well plants need all three of the above.

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Materials

The topic for the second part of the term was materials. We identified objects made from glass, paper, wood, plastic and metal and discussed the properties of these.

One of the downsides of not having a science space is that the equipment which was once there is spread around the school. This meant that what I wanted to use could not be found. Instead, we improvised.

As a class we planned an experiment to test how strong a range of materials were, made predictions and then after we had done the experiment drew bar charts and talked about our results.

For the experiment, we got a range of wet and dry materials, easily accessible from the classroom, and secured them either side of a gap between tables. In the absence of slotted masses (or indeed masses of any kind) we used jenga blocks – they are uniform enough to be able to be used as ‘units’ and for some reason I had an enormous box of them in the classroom. Conceptually, the students were able to see the amount of blocks, and were able to discuss stacking them as opposed to placing them randomly.

Testing materials

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