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Over these two weeks we looked at energy. Before starting this topic I didn’t have a great deal of knowledge of what energy was or what it actually meant although I knew small things like what fossil fuels were. In the lecture we looked at the basics: what energy is and examples of energy usage in our world. The Oxford Dictonary (2019) defines energy as “a source of power, such as fuel, used for driving machines, providing heat etc.” As a future teacher I think it is important that children are taught about energy and where it comes from as it has an impact on the environment and they need to be aware of what it is doing to the world around them when non-renewable energy (fossil fuels) is used instead of renewable (wind, wave etc), this will allow them to be more aware of the effect choices they make can have and the importance of finding new ways to create their energy that is good for the environment too. This could link in with the previous topic we looked at on climate change and how fossil fuels are contribuiting to it. In the lecture I learned that we only have 50 years left of oil (Business Standard, 2015) which highlighted to me how important it is to teach children about other energy sources as well as highlighting to me that I need to be more conscious of what I am doing with fossil fuels in my life. A video that I would show to my class to help them understand what energy is could be Dr. Binoc’s as he is easy to watch and would keep children engaged while learning:
The first workshop I was in was science. We started by completing a quiz on fossil fuels so that we could highlight what we knew and what we didn’t know and then we discussed answers in our groups. We then got our fossils that we had created, from the previous week, back so that we could see the finished result and I think this is a good class activity as it is simple but keeps children engaged over a period of time because they have to wait to get their finished fossil. My favourite activity in class today was making the dinosaur puppets which could be cross circular with arts in a classroom. I think doing activities like this is important when teaching pupils topics as it keeps learning fun and moving between different tasks keeps them active and interested.
The next workshop was focusing on windfarms and debate. We started in small groups of 4/5 and had to research the pros and cons of wind turbines. This allowed us to all get our point across and for no ones voice to be left out. Then we joined up with another group and had to share our facts with each other and after that we joined up with another group and we got told if we were going to be the for or against team. My group was the team for windfarms and I was chosen to be one of the debaters. This pushed me out of my comfort zone as I still am not very confident in talking in front of bigger groups but looking back I am glad that I done it as it will help me grow in confidence the more I do it. This whole task helped me develop my skills in being collaborative as I had to work with others to come up with arguments and share ideas and it also helped me become a more effective communicator as we had to share in large groups and I then had to present to the class. Both these skills are UWS Graduate Attributes (UWS, 2018) and are both important in becoming a teacher as I will have to be able to communicate to a class and work with other professionals. I found this session useful as it highlighted the importance of encouraging debate in a classroom as it gets children to work with people they may not have previously as well as allowing the to research, communicate, form arguments and work with others. It is also a fun and active activity that will keep children engaged in the topic.
For the second week of this topic we looked at technology. I was in the section that focused on ‘tinkering’ as a way of learning. We were given lots of different materials such as balloons, tape, lego, and string. The only instruction given was to make a vehicle that could move on its own. This was my favourite activity of the whole module as it gave us so much freedom to use our imaginations and be creative. The main body of our car was a balloon and we used a sheet of plastic to fan the car which allowed it to move on its own. This task highlighted how important it is for children to have freedom to be creative as it allows for critical thinking to put something together rather than following set instructions, it allows children to use their initiative because they dont have someone telling them what to do. I definitely felt a sense of achievement when our car moved on its own so I can imagine how a child would feel. We then came back together as a whole class and heard that the other section had to build their vehicle by following a set of instructions and then we discussed the pros and cons of tinkering and following instruction. Both had advantages and disadvantages such as tinkering allows for creativity but might cause children to show of what they have made and make others feel like they didn’t do as well whereas following instructions means their isnt the opportunity to be creative however the end product for everyone is the same. This task improved my problem solving skills which is another UWS Graduate Atribute (UWS, 2018) as I had to think about how we could make the car move and it isn’t something I have had to do before.
CfE Experiences and outcomes (Education Scotland, 2017) that the Energy topic could cover are:
I enjoyed this topic as it has increased my knowledge around energy and the importance of renewable sources that I didn’t think about before but now I know that children need to know to allow them to make informative decisions on energy use, and it has shown me all the skills and knowledge pupils could gain from it through a range of activities and now feel like I would be comfortable teaching this while making it fun.
Education Scotland (2017) Curriculum For Excellence: Experiences and Outcomes [Online] Available:https://education.gov.scot/Documents/All-experiencesoutcomes18.pdf [Accessed: 24th of November
2019]University of the West of Scotland (2018) UWS Graduate Attributes [Online] Available: https://www.uws.ac.uk/current-students/your-graduate-attributes/ [Accessed: 24th November 2019]
Oxford Dictionary. 2019. Energy. [Online] Available: https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com [Accessed 24th November 2019]