Category Archives: Science


I’ve been working with students with a Visual Impairment this term, alongside other learning difficulties. Our theme was ‘minibeasts and animals’ and amongst other things we’ve had butterflies to hatch, visits from dogs and ponies and a chance to build a minibeast hotel.

Alongside this we have been exploring the local environment on a weekly basis. There is a (neglected) sensory garden at school, plenty of bushes and trees but very few flowers. We’ve been getting the students to interact with as many of these as possible along the way, often along the lines of ‘feel the tree trunk, here’s a leaf to explore’. I realised towards the end of term that we have inadvertently taught these students that when you encounter a plant, you have to pick a leaf…. I’ll have to think more carefully next year about how I deliver the practical side of investigating plants.


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#30dayswild 1

For the third year running I’m taking part in the Wildlife Trust’s #30DaysWild, which aims to get people outside and enjoying the wild part of their environments, wherever they may be. Starting with an easy one today.

Lunch outside with a friend, enjoying the green spaces and wildlife (insects) in the city centre

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#ASEConf – SEND in the Science Classroom

As promised, here’s a copy of the powerpoint from today’s presentation.

Managing SEND in the science classroom – Marion

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AQA Entry Level – Biology 2

Scheme of work and accompanying worksheets for AQA Entry Level unit 4 – Chemistry in our World. Designed to be taught in 3x45min lessons a week, and to take a term. Assumes you have access to expected lab equpiment

Based on Exploring Science textbooks. Not all worksheets are my own, a majority have been found on TES and remodelled slightly to suit the needs of our students.

Biology Environment evolution and inheritance

1 SAPS – Bubbling Cabomba pondweed – student sheet

1a SAPS – Bubbling Cabomba pondweed – technical notes

2 Animal adaptations

3 plant adaptations

4 creature design

5 pyramid of biomass

6 Food webs

7 Decay

8 Competition between plants

9 How fossils are formed

10 Factsheet – Fossils

11 Darwin-Storybook

12 sticky dogs

13 peppered moth

14 Peppered moth Qs and As

15 Gm_organisms

Environment, evolution and inheritance

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Linda – teacher prof development

Effective cpd is a partnership between teachers and slt. Focus,  does it make it better?  How do I know?  Evidence or expertise based?  Collaboration?  Bigger picture at school? 

Lucie – educational doctorate

Need time, finances, support. 

Start with a question,  three research papers,  project,  thesis, 

Need to find a gap in the field of research.  Question everything you read. Supervisor makes a difference, as do colleagues. 

Learn to manage supervisor.  Keep a research diary.  Supervisor and course team will develop skills. 

Looking for volunteers to take part.  Use  Twitter to take part in discussions about teaching contact @yorks_bunny

Liz – teaching about nature of matter during transition

Young people leave education without understanding particulate nature of matter.  Begin to study behaviour of matter in ks2. Huge dip in attainment and interest in secondary transfer.  How do teachers interpret the curriculum in this area? How do students experience curriculum? What is happening in the classroom? Ks2 and ks3 documents are not similar. 

Going to survey teachers,  analyse documents and teacher materials,  case studies. How to help – complete a survey,  link to follow. Short interview.  Must teach ks2 or 3, all sectors of education @oboelizzy

Stuart – Iop. Looking at teacher learning

How important is the role of knowledge of others to help teachers learn? 

What is the essential knowledge for someone coming into teaching?  What should you look out for and identify during an observation week? 

Katherine-  gratnell #learningrooms

Looking at a child’s journey through school.  Focus on physical environment and impact on learning.  Labs and prep rooms need to be planned for learning. 

How does space we teach in affect learning outcomes?  How much control do teachers have over learning spaces?

Sarah – finding out what students know (questioning) 

Hinge questions…. those that determine where your lesson is going next.  Questions should not be too wordy.  Multiple choice responses can show a increase in difficulty to check understanding.  True or false statements.  Easier to write when in teams with a range of experience.  Quality of questions is important. 

 Need to allocate time in departmental meetings for collaboration. 

Finding out where students are stuck is the key.  Hinge questions should show benefits as students get unstuck

Alistair – research informed curriculum development 

Best evidence science teaching-  new curriculum project for ks3. Four main strands focusing on engagement,  practical work,  assessment and effective teaching of difficult ideas. 

Looking for some partner schools to run trials and give feedback

Use of written questions to assess practical skills, research project.  Looking for partner schools

Linda – technician conference 

Some ideas for science club activities. Discussion about how to make these more likely to involve science learning and how to extend this learning

Richard – practical 

Using predict,  observe,  explain to get students thinking about practical experiments

Born to engineer website.  Worth a look on stem learning website 

Helen-  writing or compiling tests

For aqa activate.  Writing questions and compiling tests. 

When compiling tests need the outcome to help discriminate between students.  Consider language and phrasing,  start with the answer and craft the question from  there,  working as a team helps. 

Need to look at spec to identify questions.  Use real data.  Keep questions short  and wording clear. 

Alex – using video to teach teachers

When showing video have questions to respond to.  Do teachers have enough time to read?  Videos are quicker.

Has a spreadsheet with all #asechat tweets.  Lots of uses. Ask for info. Use if this then that put the topics you are teaching and how long you want to take,  to set these tests as homework.  Forgetting curves. Blog is really good for resources and cognitive science. Especially strategies for revision

Mary-  electricity 

Does the colour of insulation on a wire matter?  Easier to see the circuit if use one colour.  Add parallel in different colours.

Use colours of spectrum to label electrical potential of each wire,  red highest potential, violet lowest. Draw circuit with cells on side to highlight potential difference

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