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.
15 / 07 / 2015, Diana’s diary entry (EAL student, arrived two years ago from Latvia):
“In period 1 today we do History and Mr Smith asked us to write happen on the day when World War 2 start in 1939. That was quite easy, actually. It was fun looking at the pictures and writing little sentences about what went on. After tutor, in period 2, it is Maths, and we do something named word problems. They are small stories and we answer with numbers. But Miss Brooke said they are like stories – so why do her problems say, “Molly buys 6 CDs” and not “Molly bought”? I don’t get it! And then in Science we did about metals, but I don’t understand. Mr Hutchinson talked about “is done” and “is made” and “are formed”, but why is he using two verbs? – this is nonsense!”
Around 400 secondary school pupils from South Wales will attend a one-off summer school lead by NASA astronaut Steve Swanson. The Mission Discovery programme will celebrate the sciences, and the renowned engineer will team up with Bishop Hedley RC High School in Merthyr Tydfil to let pupils spacewalk in an astronaut's shoes, according to Wales Online.
To gauge his opinion on important matters regarding education, we conduct a Twinterview with Mitchel Resnick, a LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and the head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab.
[As seen in the October 2014 edition of our magazine]
Mitchel Resnick is a LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and the head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. He led the research group that developed the ‘programmable brick’, and we’re delighted to welcome him to our Twinterview to explore how new technologies can engage people in creative learning experiences.
Pupils at Gaskell Primary in Bolton last week enjoyed five days of scientific adventures. In order to get in on the National Science Week action, the school’s teachers organised a series of events and workshops for the children, according to The Bolton News.
Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of... well pupils from my school, I hope! Our pupils and perhaps ‘our own personal children’, as I call my sons, could possibly be travelling up to space in their latter years. It’s something that is becoming agility, core strength, stamina and dexterity. The mission activities are planned weekly at school and work well with year 5 pupils, as it is part of their science curriculum and the PE element forms part of their requirements for the term.
The BBC has launched a new project in order to boost digital skills amongst British secondary school students. The corporation will be giving away one million Micro Bit mini-computers as part of the Make It Digital campaign to all 11-year-old pupils starting secondary school in the autumn term. The initiative will also include a season of coding-based programmes and activities.
The kids we teach in our classrooms today are undoubtedly ‘digital natives’. Born in an age of established technology, the latest generation of students have grown up with clever gadgets and devices, leading to today’s youth having an unrivalled passion and understanding for the digital world. Research suggests that three quarters of children now use the internet at home, and nearly all use it at school, with around 41 percent of 9 to 19 year olds having access to the web each and every day. At a time when the traditional textbook is being phased out in favour of technology, it’s time for teachers to adapt their methods of delivering information to meet the contemporary needs of children growing up in the digital age.
With a plethora of edtech available to schools, it’s a great time to be studying Science. However, much of this learning risks being wasted if kids can’t apply it to real life, everyday examples. BPES are offering a variety of free resources to tackle this.
The BP Educational Service (BPES) is taking science out of the lab and into the real world with ‘Where's the Science in that?’, a set of new free resources for students aged 9 to 14. These resources have been designed to fit closely with the new National Curriculum for England. They also support the curricula for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The focus is on inspiring young people to see science in a new light. The interactive teaching resources are compatible with whiteboards, PCs, iPad and Android tablets.