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Scientific Literacy

Within our society we are bombarded daily with various claims and stories about the impact of science on our world. These can range from global warming and medical advances all the way to the food we eat. When we have knowledge and understanding about scientific processes and larger concepts we can then hopefully approach this information in an informed manner. If we grasp the concept of scientific literacy we can question the world around us. The idea of scientific literacy is basically being educated as to how science moulds the world. This can hold great cultural, social and personal importance. The skills that are developed when we analyse and critique scientific information are transferable. Scientific knowledge then becomes a very observational, experiential, logical and somewhat sceptical way of knowing. This enables people to ask questions and find answers. If we are to be fed “facts” by the media it is with scientific literacy that we can decide whether to take them at face value or delve further for answers. This also grants us the tools to reach conclusions through fair debate and applicable evidence.

Scientific literacy is very important as not having it can lead to misunderstandings. This happens a great deal with media reporting when the journalist didn’t have a good level of scientific literacy and writes a report which spreads incorrect information to the public, this can often have a very negative impact. An example of this is the report which claimed there was a link between the MMR vaccine and ASD, which has now been proven wrong. However this report was picked up by the media and they spread hysteria across the country over whether or not it was safe to vaccinate children. In 1998 BBC news published an article titled ‘Child vaccine linked to autism’ the Telegraph also published an article in 2007 which restarted the concern over the vaccines claiming there was a ‘New fear over MMR link with rising autism.’ This panic meant that hundreds of children were not vaccinated which could have been avoided by ensuring people have a good level of scientific literacy. Scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity. It also includes specific types of abilities.

A “fair test” refers to an experiment that is carefully controlled to ensure that the information gathered is reliable. In science, it is an experiment conducted in a manner so that it does not provide any advantages to any of the conditions or subjects being tested. To insure that your experiment is a fair test, you must change only one factor at a time while keeping all other conditions the same. Scientists call the changing factors in an experiment ‘variables’. For example, imagine we are wanting to test which toy car is the fastest while going down a sloping ramp. If we gently release the first car, but give the second car a push start, this is not a fair test! This is because we gave the second car an unfair advantage by pushing it to start. The only thing that should change between the two tests is the car. To ensure a fair test, we should start them both down the same ramp in exactly the same way.

Reference List

BBC (no date) Home. Available at: (Accessed: 7 February 2016).

The telegraph – telegraph online, daily telegraph, Sunday Telegraph (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 10 February 2016).

The national academies press (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 14 February 2016).

Oxford dictionaries (no date) in Oxford Dictionary. Available at: (Accessed: 13 February 2016).

Ailsa Mackie, Polly Ford, Rebecca Muir & Rebecca Birrell

Internet Safety.

Growing up I have always been heavily aware of the consequences of not being careful enough on the internet. For a while I thought my mum was just really paranoid because she didn’t grow up with the internet like I did but I soon realised after reading all these horror stories about children who were that bit too trusting with social media that she was right all along. Additionally, I remember watching many short clips in assemblies at high school recreating real events that would scare me so much that I almost never wanted to go on the internet ever again!

It’s a big scary place the internet and without the right education on how to safe, it’s easy to go wrong and end up in a mess no one wants to be in. This is why I considerate it really important to make sure children grow up feeling confident with internet safety so they won’t be scared but will also stay safe. We live in an expediential world and it’s very easy to be overwhelmed by it all, especially when teaching if you don’t have a grasp on what children get up to these days. However, simple things such as never revealing your address online may seem obvious but can be where many go wrong. I’ve read many a times about how a teenager has posted on Facebook (or any other social media site) that they are having a party so they put their home address on the post and before you know it 300 odd people turn up and the house is wrecked, leaving 1000s of pounds worth of damage.

The most worrying thing for parents when letting their children venture on to the internet is strangers. It’s no secret that there are many horrible people out there that will use their brains to lure children in by using fake accounts. Therefore, children who are uneducated in the way of internet safety wouldn’t even think twice about talking to  someone the same age as them, who are interested in the same things and happens to go to the primary school not too far from them! Sounds too good to be true? It normally is. Unfortunately for the parents the child will often lie and if they end up meeting this internet friend, the parent will be unaware that their child’s safety is at a very high risk.

After this week’s ICT input I decided to check out ‘Fakebook’ a site where teachers can create a fake profile for a fictional/historical character. I found this really intriguing as it’s not something I’d ever heard of before but sounded quite useful. Being able to put information in a format most children are familiar with will help them keep engaged and might find learning that little bit more enjoyable (if possible!).

I put together my very own ‘Fakebook’ highlighting the risks of the internet and why it’s important to stay safe.


How The Cat Stole The Fish.

Creating a short clip using animation about how a cat stole a fish is certainly not what I expected to be doing in my first ICT input! However, it did introduce me to teaching ICT in a enjoyable, innovative and creative way. It did take it us a whole hour just to make a 20 second clip but working in a team and finding out exactly how to make an animation is something I very much enjoyed.

Teaching ICT in primary school is growing increasingly important as we are living in an expediential world where we are heavily reliant on digital technology. I can remember being at primary school and getting a 1 hour slot each week for ICT and that was it. We would spend our time learning to use Word, PowerPoint, etc. nothing nearly as innovative as animation. I don’t understand why, however, as children would love to learn about animation! Growing up I watched Wallace & Gromit which is an animation comedy series that still remains popular. In this respect children should be able to relate to animation as they may have tried Pivot themselves at home or watched Wallace & Gromit on television.

Pivot is a great way to introduce children to animation as with the right support from a teacher, they will easily pick up on the basic skills needed to create your own animation. Even if it’s just a few clips that tell a very short story, its a start and something they can grow on at home if they gain a real interest for animation. Through creating their very own animation on Zu3D in a group they can gain valuable teamwork skills.

Animation isn’t something that is widely taught in primary schools as some teachers may lack the knowledge or confidence needed. However, it shouldn’t be something teachers are afraid to do, as I learnt that it is a relatively easy task to implement in the classroom. Additionally it can be found in the Experiences and Outcomes for Technologies under stage 4: “I can use features of software to create my own animation which can then be used to create an animated sequence. TCH 4-09c”

Unfortunately, there are various barriers that teachers may face within the primary school. For example, if they are only given a short amount of time in the ICT suite a week, it can be very difficult to be able to fully educate pupils in animation. However, even if it’s just for a short period of time they can learn to use Pivot gradually throughout the year. Additionally, it could potentially be done in the classroom where there is one computer which would allow small groups to rotate using the computer each week to create their own short animation using Zu3D with the help of their teacher. This way, pupils will be able to slowly progress with their animation skills and gain the confidence and knowledge to explore animation more in their own time if they wish to do so. Furthermore, a simple and fun homework task to get them engaged could be to create their own animation booklet using just a paper and pen.

Animation is a great way to enhance a child’s creative skills in a fun and interactive way. There may be barriers that can prevent some schools from doing so, however, it’s always worth going the extra mile for the greater good of a child’s learning. After this input on animation, I feel I have the confidence to expand my knowledge in the topic which will hopefully make use of a child’s vast imagination in an innovative way.

The History of Brain Development Over the 20th Century.

The Physical Child – Brain Development TDT

1902 – Julius Bernstein proposes membrane theory for cells.                                                              1904 – Thomas Elliott suggests that autonomic nerves may release chemical transmitters.      1905 – John Newport Langley coins the phrase “parasympathetic nervous system”.                      1909 – Harvey Cushing is first to electrically stimulate human sensory cortex.                            1913 – Walter Samuel Hunter devises delayed-response test.                                                         1919 – Gordon Morgan Holmes localizes vision to a specific area.                                                  1920 – Stephen Walter Ranson demonstrates connections between the hypothalamus and pituitary.
1920 – John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner publish experiments about classical conditioning of fear (Little Albert experiments).                                                                                                              1924 – Charles Scott Sherrington discovers the stretch reflex.                                                             1928 – Walter Rudolph Hess reports “affective responses” to hypothalamic stimulation.               1927 – J. Wagner-Jauregg – Nobel Prize-Malaria to treat dementia paralyses.                              1929 – Joseph Erlanger and Herbert Spencer Gasser publish work on the correlation of nerve fiber size and function.                                                                                                                               1936 – Walter Freeman performs first lobotomy in the United States.                                              1938 – Ugo Cerletti and Lucino Bini treat human patients with electroshock.                                1949 – John Cade discovers that lithium is an effective treatment for bipolar depression.        1953 – Brenda Milner discusses patient HM who suffers from memory loss of hippocampal surgery.                                                                                                                                                      1957 – W. Penfield and T. Rasmussen devise motor and sensory homunculus.
1957 – The American Medical Association recognizes alcoholism as a disease.                                 1987 – Fluoxetine (Prozac) introduced as treatment for depression.                                               1993 – The gene responsible for Huntington’s disease is identified.


The benefits of active learning and co-operative working

Personally, I think you can benefit greatly from active learning as memorizing information for exams isn’t as beneficial long-term. Studying actively involves thinking about what you’re doing and why rather than copying notes or reading. Actively working using different techniques, insuring that you know the topic well and are able to understand all aspects and theories rather than just being able to write everything you’ve memorized down for an exam. Additionally, I think that active learning is a lot more motivating and less passive. Eventually, this method should result in more self-confidence in your own work, development and knowledge. I think, that active learning promotes more learning through team work activities, further improving cognitive development.

Co-operative working holds many benefits. For example, the ability to work in a team to reach a common goal is very important in today’s society, in jobs, etc. Additionally, it enables development in social skills which are essential for life. Working co-operatively enhances your learning as you can learn from each other and grow professionally, having team members you can receive help from is also very beneficial. Skills in leadership and communication can be learnt and developed through frequent group work. Being able to think as a team and build decision making skills are more benefits that arise from co-operative learning.

Welcome to your WordPress eportfolio

Welcome to your eportfolio. This is where you will document and share your professional thoughts and experiences over the course of your study at the University of Dundee and beyond that when you begin teaching. You have the control over what you want to make public and what you would rather keep on a password protected page.

The eportfolio in the form of this WordPress blog allows you to pull in material from other digital sources:

You can pull in a YouTube video:

You can pull in a Soundcloud audio track:

You can pull in a Flickr page

Teacher, Lorraine Lapthorne conducts her class in the Grade Two room at the Drouin State School, Drouin, Victoria

You can just about pull in anything that you think will add substance and depth to your writing.