All posts by Jo Cassidy

Climate Change

I was eager to study this element of the course it is so relevant not in schools but to the topic of conversation. Before looking into this topic I had that misconnection that many do around climate change. I underestimated the power and destruction that can happen to the earth by it heating up a little.

Climate change is a huge current controversial issue in today’s politics. To define climate change is the transformation in the weather over a recorded set amount of time. Climate change is not about the weather on a day to day basis but the average weather at certain points and time (National Geographic Society, 2019). The climate of the earth as a whole has vastly changed in the last hundred years. The earth has increased the temperature which is negative on the environment. Slight adaption in temperature can have devasting effects it can completely change a biome, for example, the melting of the ice caps impacts all animals, nature, and land.

Here is a clip-on a child explaining climate change.

The earth is continually changing and adapting however the main debate on climate change is;

“Is climate change caused by humans or is it a natural process?”

The earth is surrounded by greenhouse gases that wraps tightly around the earth. Greenhouse gases can be naturally caused by disasters such as volcanoes. However natural disasters are not a regular occurrence for most places therefore it is a small percentage of the contributing greenhouse gases.  Due to the increased popularity of industrialisation since the 1700s, it has resulted in these gases to constrict the earth like a blanket making it a hotter climate. A hotter climate has the consequences of melting the ice caps and altering lands forevermore (Met office, 2019).

The Curriculum for Excellence encourages teachers to build awareness of climate change as it so current and important right now. It states-

I can investigate the climate, physical features and living things of a natural environment different from my own and explain their interrelationship. SOC 3-10a

(Scottish Government 2017).

It is important to inform children about climate change as children could, in turn, inform their parents which could make a difference to our environment. Children should be informed of these issues as it will be them one day solving them so easing children in early is curial. Easing children in also decreases anxiety about climate change as this can be terrifying to adults never mind young impressionable children. Therefore gently easing the topic in takes the fear away.

Curriculum for Excellence agrees that learning about climate change is so significantly important for children as it has the experience and outcome of-

By exploring climate zones around the world, I can compare and describe how climate affects living things. SOC 1-12b

(Scottish Government 2017).

Our educational government recognises the need to inform children about our climate as to not teach about this is doing injustice. Children should not be sheltered about the world they live in. instead, they should be taught correctly to be able to make a difference.

Experiments carried out

Weather front experiment- Using hot (red colouring) and cold water (blue colouring) we tested to see if heat rises. The red raised to the top and the blue sank. I think children would enjoy this as it is easy to set up and they would be able to get hands-on experience. I was surprised with this experiment although the photos do not convey it well the water really separates and shows you the difference between hot and cold.











Rain cloud experiment- using a beaker, shaving foam and food colouring. This experiment shows how rain escapes from clouds. This would be good to use as a teacher and you could easily show this to a class inexpensively.

Doing activities like this relates to Kolb’s theory of experimental learning, children learn more when they have hands-on experience. It becomes more meaningful and memorable opportunity which increase learning capacity (Baker, Jensen and Kolb, 2002).

After this lesson, I feel knowledgeable about climate change. I understand the importance of this in our society and it is an extremely important aspect that we need to teach children about. Since learning about this topic I feel that I have developed the University of the West of Scotland graduate attribute of ‘research-minded’ as to get a good enough understanding I had to research this topic. I think I have started to develop the critical thinker trait too as with climate change you need to evaluate your sources. For example, questioning the president of American opinions. I have realised that my misconnection of underestimating the power of the earth increasing temperature is so dangerous. Many people think this is a bonus as their country will heat up but for a country to increase temperature is damaging to our precious environment.


Useful sources





Baker, A.C., Jensen, P.J. and Kolb, D.A., 2002. Conversational learning: An experiential approach to knowledge creation. Greenwood Publishing Group.

National Geographic Society. (2019). Climate Change. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Oct. 2019].

Met Office. (2019). What is climate change? – Met Office. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Oct. 2019].

Scottish Government (2017). Benchmarks sciences. [Online] [Accessed: 19 October 2019].

YouTube. (2015). Climate change (according to a kid). [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Oct. 2019].


Before starting this module, I was anxious of what it would entail; in school science was a very hard topic for myself. I was never confident or certain of this subject so it was interesting to see if this module would change my opinion. In the lecture the main discussion point was “what does sustainability mean in a single word?” many people commented eco, recycling, preventing, save and future. Sustainability is about empowerment and getting everyone to do their part for a better future.

During the 1st science input, this was about biodiversity it carried out serval science experiments. One of these were using leave rubbing and bark markings to determine different types of plantations. This was very enjoyable because it was simple and could be used with very young children as easy to see the biodiversity in different species of plants and trees. Another experiment was snails on different textures. Children would really benefit from a science experiment like this as it was unique and really fascinating.  Flower dissecting was also used this is to determine a flowers anatomy. This would be good for children as it is interdisciplinary learning it builds upon fine motor skills as well as biodiversity.

WOSDEC- is a group of external educators who specialise in global citizenship and learning for sustainability gave a workshop about creating sustainability. WOSDEC explained the idea of that learning for sustainability is many factors it not about just ‘recycling’. It is more than this (see picture below).

(WOSDEC, 2019)

Leaning for sustainability is about children’s rights, outdoor learning and so much more. This changed my mindset completely from this mind map; before seeing this, I didn’t really know what sustainability was but now I have a further understanding of what this entails. From this the speakers moved onto the 17 global goals. They explained that these goals were not yet attainable, but it was a vision to strive for in the future. An example of one of the goals is zero hunger (The Global Goals, 2019).

For information on global goals for children ( )

(YouTube, 2019)

One of the graduate attributes I think I have developed from these workshops is being culturally aware. These workshops made me realise what sustainability really was and how as an individual I can make a difference. Another attribute I discovered with biodiversity was creativity. From the workshops I discovered innovative ways of showing diversity. This made me feel so much more at ease about teaching science and I could use my creative flow to demonstrate different ways of understanding a topic.

Culture diversity was the second input received at university. This was a very thought-provoking lecture. This lecture dived into deep controversial issues such as values, gender, race, sexuality and religion.  The class identified what this means in 2019 and spoke of definitions. The lecturer then posed controversial questions to each of the groups, one of the questions was-

“Should all public buildings include gender neutral bathrooms?”

It was very interesting to hear ranges of perspectives from different ranges of people to all of the questions in the class. The importance was as a teacher we should not enforce our opinions towards children. When entering a classroom, it should remain unbiased by a teacher as well as being open minded for differences. This allows children to make more informed decisions. Stereotyping was the next issue in the lecture. It identified particular groups previously who have been prejudiced for stereotypes such as Jewish people, gay people and poverty stricken individuals.

For videos on diversity and why it is needed in a society see this video below.

It was further identified that not all people mean to stereotype. Prejudice and stereotyping can come from a place of ignorance. As teachers it is our duty make children more socially aware and culturally aware about these types of issues. Educating children about being prejudice is so important as this can transition, and children can help parents and elders be more informed and politically correct about these controversial issues.

A graduate attribute I have developed from this input is firstly expanding on my culture awareness, but also being having emotional intelligence with this topic. Controversial issues can be very sensitive for some children therefore this topic should be covered in a careful manner.  This will deepen the culture awareness in the classroom setting as teachers are seen as role models and children will try and replicate. This also enhances the graduate attribute of gaining socially responsibility.


BBC Bitesize. (2019). Living in a diverse society. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Sep. 2019].

Robertson, J. (2019). WOSDEC Global Learning Centre – Working to promote social justice through education. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Sep. 2019].

The Global Goals. (2019). The Global Goals. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Sep. 2019].


YouTube. (2019). The World’s Largest Lesson. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Sep. 2019].

Reflections on Placement

On the 29th of October 2018- I embarked on my first university placement. I was nervous, terrified and excited all at once. This was a new territory for me as I am originally from the East coast; this meant a big change for me. I was placed in a local catholic school from which I had a short walk each morning. For the first week, I was in with a Primary 4 class and in my second week I was in with a Primary 6 class. I enjoyed my time in my placement and learned many things from this experience that I will use to develop my practice for the future.


A strength that I believe I portrayed well was my facial expressions, each morning I would always smile, welcome the children with a warm “hello”. This really helped me integrate with the class as when I was first introduced, this eased the general class tension. I personally found this to be extremely important as I was guest in the school, therefore, making this a positive experience from the beginning  meant that the kids would feel comfortable to ask for my help.  Another strength was my body language- I ensured this as from recent learning in our module “situated communication” I am developing my knowledge of good body language. I always tried to seem engaged as this would mirror onto the children.

Developmental weakness

A developmental weakness I learnt about myself was my lack of confidence especially when working with older years. I felt this stemmed from my height as I am 5’1 ft and I look young, so this made me feel less confident working with the Primary 6’s. I knew this was an irrational fear of mine, yet it did play upon my mind especially one afternoon when there was an elective class with the primary 7’s. Luckily I did have a pair comfy heels I could wear to placement this eased my anxiety a little as I was now the same height as the tallest Primary 6 child. Another developmental weakness I noticed was use of language. I used a lot of filler short words such as ‘erm’, ‘like’ and ‘um’; this is a bad habit of mine especially the word ‘like’ I use this quite a lot. For example in maths, I was explaining to a young girl about when multiplying by then 10 you need to remember to move the decimal place, I found this hard to explain without using these filler words.

Action plan

My action plan is to take my strengths and develop these even further, but also to work on my weaknesses.  To build up my confidence, I spoke to my lecturer and to the teacher I worked with. My lecturer suggested that improving my stance and posture would help me and I would naturally feel more confident. The teacher I worked with also understood my insecurities, and she told me that from her experience, dressing up a little bit more may make someone seem more serious. She stated that when she had taught older years in the past and felt this way, she would buy something like a blazer and she felt she was ‘dressing for business’. To improve my use of conversational filler I could watch my pace and slow down my speaking as I will have more opportunity to think about what I am saying to avoid these habits.

Situated Communication- Outdoor Den Building

In our den building experience we had no official leaders as we all were contributing and ‘piggybacking’ on ideas. Due to the fact there was not an official leader meant we could all have our ideas shared therefore this was including each of member of our group. Our most challenging aspect as a group was deciding whether our den was secure enough. As we used the longest white poles available then bent them as semi-circle slightly dug into the ground. We needed to decide if this was secure enough for us to to use. By working together, digging them further into the ground and using other methods to secure we decided this was safe enough to use.

When the other group did their explanation they had really good ideas and seemed to worked really well as a group.  They had really positive body language and followed with gestures as well. Their thoughts were very clear and maintained good eye contact with us. They provided all of the 5p’s assessment requirements; per assessment, planning, preparation, presenting and postmortem.

The environment only slightly impacted our communication I think we were lucky as the trees sheltered us allowing us to talk. We discovered that comparing this to a typical classroom it was easier to get distracted by various sounds and trees swaying. When were listening to the other group we discovered that we could hear dog walkers and dogs (which we extremely enjoyed). However this could of been distracting for the other group.

Our negotiation was to ask for bin liners for more shelter in our den. This was extremely successful as they were happy to give us some as they did not need them. The most challenging part about negotiation was deciding on an item that we knew a group would be willing to part with. Luckily for us something we needed, another group did not so it work in favour for both groups.