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Boring Science

Discussion in 'Primary' started by regencyrob, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. I am a 5 class teacher in a large primary school.

    I find teaching science boring - I love science. I just can't get it exciting enough for my challenging class.

    We can buy any resources we like - what would you suggest I do?
    WHat could I buy to make my lessons more exciting?
  2. I don't think it is mainly a matter of resources or particularly money, just sharing the interest or excitement.
    Just when I got used to there being "8"planets, today I read that there may be "9" again, with another one out there 4 x the size of Jupiter, within two years it will be confirmed. The clue being the arrival angle of some comets suggest another gravitational field out there. Now that I find interesting, and how the science is developing. Much the same for the other aspects of science, find the frame to present it.

  3. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    Make a list of all the topics you are going to cover. For each one look for every opportunity for practical work you can think of - year 5 has some great units. They don't have to be massive investigations - just hands on wherever possible. Decide if you need any equipment for this work - for example: magnifying glasses (for dissecting plants), stopwatches (human body - measuring pulse), sound meter (to measure decibels when doing work on muffling sound), batteries, wires and clips for electricty work. Make a shopping list.
    Look for outside agencies that can come into school. You can get a mobile planetarium to come in for instance when you are doing Earth in Space. http://www.astronomyroadshow.com/ Add the cost of this to your shopping list. I had to do some work on teeth, so got two dental hygienists to come in and talk to the children - didn't cost anything!
    Search the net for ideas. I found this just now when I wanted to check what a sound meter was called! http://www.environmental-protection.org.uk/assets/library/documents/HearThis.pdf It is a resource full of practical activities.
    Visit to the Science Museum or similar.
    Have an ever changing noticeboard. I used to have a Scientist of the Week - related to the topic and either quotes (eg. one small step for a man ...) or amazing facts (eg. biggest tree in the world). Science in the news, updated whenever something new is reported. It made the children look at the board to see what had changed.
    There are many free interactive sites on the web - Children's University of Manchester is outstanding http://www.childrensuniversity.manchester.ac.uk/ I have also used http://www.engineeringinteract.org/ You could invetigate other IWB that are not free such as boardworks. http://www.boardworks.co.uk/
    The BBC class clips site http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/ is an oasis of brilliant video to support your work - and free!
    You must try to show the children your enthusiasm for the subject. Think about tone of voice and body language. They won't be enthused unless they see that you are.
    I hope this helps.
  4. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    In the autumn collect as many seed heads as you can. Go for a walk to collect acorns etc, collect seed heads from your garden or ask gardening friends to collect them for you. The children love looking at these with the magnifying glasses - so much easier to see the hooks for example on seedheads that are carried by animals. You do need to think about this in advance if you are doing plants in the summer term.
    Typo on previous post - investigate not invetigate!
    PM me if you want to discuss further.
  5. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I do sympathise. I trained in secondary science, and I can't imagine doing it within the restrictions and budget of a primary classroom. I would feel that primary science should make great use of the outdoors, but that is not where my strengths would lie.
    I wonder if reading some books for parents rather than teachers about science that can be done at home will give ideas for some cheap and interesting science using every day objects etc.
    You may be able to get the kids to bring in the resources from home, or even to do some little investigations at home as part of homework e.g. red cabbage indicator etc.
    Do any of the parents have a scientific job that you can milk in some way?
    I remember chromatography using felt tip pens and blotting paper being fascinating, watching the colours separate. Doing something similar with grass. Cooking is good science - do you have a cooking area at school?
  6. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    You say you can buy any resources you like -------- that sounds amazing![​IMG]
  7. Equipment - well there is a lesson - or five- in itself. How and why did people invent lens, wires, batteries etc. ? Leuwenhoek looked through a raindrop on a leaf and saw the magnification and an idea came to him which exploded into glasses, telescopes and where we are today. Dr. Snow realised one water pump was at the centre of cholera infection and .. the rest is history, here at least, but elsewhere science is still searching for cheap and efficient answers. Pulse and heartbeat - William Harvey and co., /gravediggers. Canaries down mines/ Bolivian miners... Linking 'now' events to science - I love marlin's suggestions.
    Re. seeds/plants - is it not possible to have an ongoing 'four seasons' approach? (It pains me that children have to know the names of the parts of a flower but don't know the names of common flowers or trees.) How about having a group of children per tree (oak, ash, sycamore, willow, beech, horse chestnut, elder) and they monitor their tree through the year and report on seasonal progress? Also look at uses and anything else that makes it interesting.( A nurseryman is growing a horse chestnut tree from a graft taken from the dying tree mentioned and loved by Anne Frank) . Stop. Coffee -
  8. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Think about all tnhe topics you have to teach, make a list of every single practical you can do in each. Then get the equipment to do those practicals.

    You don't need to be enthused and excited, your children do! And the best way to inspire them is to get them to do hands on science.

    Every single science lesson in primary school should be children actively doing practical work. Start to see it a bit like PE. You would never teach a unit of gym by getting children to watch and analyse a film, answer comprehension questions, draw a diagram, and maybe have a little go at something not too tricky for 10 mins if they have been good now would you? Same with science!
  9. Why are you finding teaching science boring? Are you constantly doing book work?
    My class are also Y5 and on the challenging side, but they do enjoy science lessons on the whole. There are some boring ones, but generally, they are looking forward to their science. We are doing quite a lot of practical work. In the unit we have just finished, we have looked at materials and their properties. We have made mixtures and solutions; have filtered muddy water; looked at condensation; have established what molecules do when you heat liquids up or cool them down; have learnt a water cycle song; have melted chocolate and poured it into moulds; have figured out why our instant coffee might not have dissolved properly; have had a first look at using a Bunsen burner (even though they have to wait until Y7 to use it themselves).
    In the previous unit, we looked at basic skills, fair testing, analysing data and all that stuff. To do that, they developed their own water rockets and tested them out, collecting data, drawing graphs and then evaluating their experiment.
    My class do know, though, that I will take anyone off the practical work, who doesn't behave in a sensible or safe manner. I've done it before. Those people then spend the next few lessons working from the book, and nothing but the book, while everyone around them is allowed to do the practical.
    Not everything is practical work, though. I also use videos and interactive games on the IWB to work with (BBC Class Clips are quite nice).
    Take a look at what units you are supposed to teach and try and get some exciting stuff going. :)
  10. Check out our website www.sigmascience.co.uk . All are activities have been designed to make science hands on and fun. We also offer practiacl hands on classroom resources that have been proven to stimulate and excite science lessons. There are also plenty of free resources ready to download!
  11. If you ask the kids, they love backyard science experiments. Google Activity TV Science, they have some great experiments, i have done with Year 6! They loved them! T
  12. I gave the children the task of bringing in a science experiment to teach the other children! WOW! I have had all kinds!!
  13. f you are part of a union you should strike if your union has balloted and that ballot was found in favour. For example if there are 10 staff in your school and 8 strike and the school closes it is unfair if you are part of that union and you still get paid when people are fighting for your rights and lose a days pay.
    It is different if you opt out of your pension and also if you are in NASUWT but if you are in school on 30th June you should decline any additional responsibilities for anything as simple as having 5 children from a strikers class or taking assembly or covering break duty!
    Many primary schools are less 'militant' (for want of a better word) than their secondary counterparts. Often primary schools do not have a named rep and therefore ballots can often be missed! I regularly find union post old and unopened littering the staffroom!


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