SCIENCE

Teaching Science at Primary level can sometimes be a difficult endeavour. The combination of time restrictions and what can be very dry learning objectives can lead both pupils and teachers to disengage with the subject.

Schoolchildren in Stedham, Chichester are deep in a space-biology programme launched by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Campaign for School Gardening and the UK Space Agency (UKSA). According to the Chichester Observer, pupils at Stedham Primary School have signed up to be part of the Rocket Science project, which saw 2kg of rocket seeds were flown to the International Space Station (ISS) in September. Chichester-native Maj Tim Peake will be travelling to this orbital laboratory next month, and is keen for the human race to perfect plant-growth in space.

Tremendously fantastic editor James Cain wanted me to make sure that this article was "a different beast" from my previous Halloween article. My instincts would not allow me to title this article anything other than what it is. With Halloween 2015 fresh in our minds, my intention is to highlight some suitably authentic ways to incorporate the occasion into the classroom. These are things I have seen, some I have done, and some things I would like to do. I do not see any of these thoughts being limited to one grade level or group of grade levels since as a teacher flexibility is not only key but also a necessity. I also want to highlight why I feel that using Halloween in school and in the classroom is a good idea.

A Pennsylvanian pupil has tackled her germaphobia head-on with a Science experiment that’s been wowing visitors at the local Franklin County Science Fair. 15-year-old Samantha Mills is the creator Germ Invasion, a project looking at the bacteria and fungi content of her grandmother's home, according to Herald-Mail Media. Samantha’s project was on display over the weekend at Waynesboro’s Destination Arts! event which featured youth science exhibits.

I have always been keen to promote departmental work with an international theme, and was delighted last summer to be involved in a project linking my school with students in Ecuador. The venture was set up by Neil Emery, who has has organised two previous projects in Ecuador, visiting tribal groups and delivering technology workshops to pupils at local community schools. Further details of his achievements are detailed on his own IMS article.

Young children are innately curious about the natural world. At Primary level, the new focus on Plants and Animals in the local environment is long overdue, and for many children this connection begins with a Minibeast topic in Foundation Stage or Year 1.

BP has launched the second Ultimate STEM Challenge, a competition in partnership with the Science Museum and STEMNET. This year, students aged 11-14 across the UK are being challenged to use their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills to develop energy efficient solutions to real-world challenges. The celebratory final event will take place in March at the Science Museum in London, and all entries must be uploaded on the BP Educational Service (BPES) website by 15th January 2016.

As I approached the fourth year in which I had delivered a sustainability-based project for my secondary school students, there was one issue that troubled me; how could I make the project itself more sustainable? Why do I use so much paper in making my students more aware of the issue of sustainability? This year, the project was to research, design, and build, a sustainable home suitable for the Finnish Tundra. The students were all in Y8 (or Grade 7) and have the benefit of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy at our school.

 

Up and down the country, ICT teachers are nervously preparing themselves to make the transition from into teaching a subject which is known as ‘Computer Science’. What school leaders must realise when making this change is that Computer Science is a world apart from ICT. Teachers will need time to re-examine the pedagogy they use to ensure they deliver Computer Science lessons that are factually correct – and most importantly – craft classes that engage all learners in the room.

As a commentator recently said on Radio 4, “never let a good crisis go to waste!” With change being the only constant in education, I took the relative peace of a moonlit dog walk in Sheffield’s beautiful Meersbrook Park (which featured in X+Y and Four Lions!) to contemplate the challenges and opportunities available to Science teachers and leaders over the coming years.

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