Art & Design Resources (3 hours)

I choose to do the art & design resource TDT as I felt it would be a good exercise to do for future practice. As a teacher having a budget and deciding on what materials are crucial for teaching Art & Design in the classroom can be challenging as it requires selecting and thinking about the whole subject and what products are going to be universal across different art projects and lessons. I found this TDT helpful and enjoyable as I was able to see how easy it is to spend a budget of £250, however, how you can choose wisely with your purchases.







Pre Workshop TDT

Taking your children to the theatre

After reading the guidance on taking your children to the theatre I created a mind map of all the things as a teacher I would need to think about prior to the trip. It is important to not only prepare your children for the theatre, whether that is exploring the show in detail, looking at the characters and the plot; or whether that is preparing them on how to be a good audience, showing the actors your full attention, reacting to the show etc. It is also crucial to prepare the organisational aspect of the trip, booking buses, getting parent helpers, having permission etc. This prior organisation will result in a more manageable outing and result in a enjoyable and valuable class trip to the theatre.

The Prince’s Foundation for Children & The Arts (no date) Available at Accessed: 15 September 2019

The Battle of Bannockburn

As part of the social studies module we have explored how important the quality of engagement with the subject is. As one of our workshops we went to Mcmanus galleries and discussed how relevant field trips can be to the development of a child’s understanding of the topic they are learning within social studies. This trip and discussion around field trips inspired me to go on my own field trip and further my own learning in this module. I decided to visit the newly refurbished Bannockburn center, in Stirling.

Prior to my visit to Bannockburn I wanted to find out why and if active learning is beneficial to learners. The main message coming from why actively engaging children in their learning is crucial, is due to how motivated learners become towards their learning (Rosemary, 2006). If children feel motivated and excited about their learning, they are more likely to enjoy and remember the experience positively. This in turn installs a love for learning, which as a teacher, is what it is all about. I then took this information and wanted to see if the Bannockburn visitor centre would capture this active side to learning.

Firstly, this location is perfect for a class learning about Scottish history, specifically the Battle of Bannockburn as the site is situated where the battle took place all those years ago. Immediately this sparks the children’s imagination as to what this battle may look like and will encourage inquisitive and curious thinking. The center allows you to explore the grounds and has a statue on the site of Robert the Bruce, which will also spark questions and give children the opportunity to enquire about who this man was, his relevance to the battle of Bannockburn and what he did. This can allow discussion about Scottish independence, why they were fighting for this, which then explores the idea of democracy and this can then be linked to the present day and the recent vote for Scottish independence back in 2014. This captures the essence of social studies and how it allows for children to explore their past, present and its people simultaneously. In addition, the children are able to explore the land of the battlefield first and analyse how different aspects of the environment may have aided the army and their strategies to win. For example, the Scottish army had scoped out the land and made themselves aware of any marsh land that may impact their performance, in addition any rivers or lakes that might delay them in battle. This gets children anaylsing aspects of the land which explores the physical geography (The Battle of Bannockburn, 2014).

The center also provides many other facilities for children to explore the Battle of Bannockburn. Upon arrival, you are given a pair of 3D glasses, which is then explained that they are for the 3D meeting key characters of the battle and viewing the battle in action. Immediately this would excite the children as they feel involved in the battle personally. When you make your way round into the first section, you are shown a 360’ video which has clips from what it would have been like in the run up to the battle and throughout. With the 3D glasses on you can see arrows shooting past you and watch knights on horses galloping past. The video is so inclusive that you forget you are a visitor and feel immersed in the battle atmosphere. As I was making my way round the centre I was thinking how active and immersive this experience is and how valuable this trip would be to consolidate or further children’s learning on the battle of Bannockburn. After the first video clip your guide informs you that you have 15 minutes to walk round and meet the characters involved in the battle or who lived during that time. You are advised to carefully take note of key information the characters give you as this may give you an advantage in the battle. This not only gives the children a key learning focus, it also motivates them to listen and take note as this information may help them win the battle they are about to step into. The characters are all animated and you stand in front of their screen, to get them to speak you place your hand up to the screen and they begin to share their story. By speaking to these characters you learn some key strategies on how to do well in the battle, and also learn about what life back then was like.

Once your 15 minutes is up you are called to gather back around in the centre. You are told to prepare as the battle is about to begin. If you were put down to participate in the battle, you enter the battle room first. The guide then tells you were to stand around the table.

As you walk in you are given a country, Scotland or England. The guide then allocates each armies leader, and asks them to begin the battle by deciding what move their army makes first. Person by person, or should I said soldier by soldier, the armies progress in the battle. Each move is vital and can lead to invasion, so it is crucial that each soldier thinks strategically about their next move. As I was taking part in the battle, I was thinking about how active this learning is and how exciting this would be for children learning about the battle of Bannockburn. Eventually the battle is finished and one army is crowned the winner. Unfortunately I was on the losing army, however, it did show me just how intense this battle would have been and how fast the armies would have had to think on their feet.
After the intense battle for independence, the guide directs you round the centre and you are brought to another video clip. The animated story tells you all about what happened after the battle and is a nice conclusion to the 3D experience.
The final part of the experience is the ‘dress up room.’ This always just sounds like too much fun and irrelevant to the learning, however, after this visit, I would have to disagree. The guides let you try on armour that is a very close representation to the armour worn back in the battle. In addition, you can put on helmets and carry shields and weapons to get the whole experience. What shocked me was the weight of the armour and how heavy it was. It made me think back to the battle room, making all those hard decisions and then having to do in under all this heavy armour. It puts you directly in the shoes of the soldiers and gives you a glimpse into what they went through. Therefore, I believe that this finished off the experience nicely and wasn’t just all fun and dress up.
During my visit I also learned that the centre accommodates for school trips and encourages classes to visit. They also provide post classroom activities, such as editing your own battle re- enactment, creative writing stimuli and a conflict of choice presentation designed to stimulate conversation about the battle and why it took place.

Overall it is a great place to support and further learning in the classroom. The entire visit epitomises active learning, and gets children involved and actively thinking about the battle.

Rosemary, W. (2006) Changing Teaching And Learning In The Primary School. England: McGraw- Hill Education.

The Battle of Bannockburn. (2014) What to expect from your visit. Available at: (Accessed: 20 October 2018).

Social Studies: Intial Thoughts

My experience with social studies in school, has always been a positive one, from what I can remember.

After the first few inputs of our social studies elective, I have began to think more about my first statement than I ever have before now. “From what I can remember,” is very telling as to the experience I had. I can remember loving Victorians in P6, because the teacher split us up into families ranging from working class to upper class. We then had to sit in these groups throughout the topic, and wrote diary entries in our literacy jotters about the week we had. This interactive roleplay captured my imagination and I still love this idea to this day! Apart from the odd topic, I struggle to remember many more of social studies from primary school.

Reading about the vast range of skills social studies has to offer and the many opportunities for interdisciplinary learning, I am beginning to see just how important this subject is, to opening up opportunities for children in the classroom. I am looking forward to learning about different ways to teach social studies to ensure that each lesson and topic are memorable and impact the children positively.

Music and Maths

“Music is the pleasure the human mind experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting,” said seventeenth century philosopher Gottfried Leibniz. There are a number of connections between music and maths including beats in a bar, musical intervals and tempo. Without these, it would be extremely hard to compose and perform music as there would be no sequence, or rhythm. Therefore, maths is essential to the making of music!


Tempo is the pace or speed at which a section of music is played. Timing is crucial to playing a piece of music. The speed at which music is played at can help create a desired atmosphere. For example the famous Jaws music starts slow and progressively gets faster. The timing makes the audience tense and aware that something is about to happen. Without this specific timing of music, the film just wouldn’t be what we all know it as today. This highlights the importance of maths in the making of music.

The Relationship between Music and Maths

When researching the relationship between music and maths further, I discovered the work of Beethoven. He is a famous composer, who in his career began to go death, however still managed to compose beautiful pieces of music. How did he do this? The answer is Maths!

This video explains the complexity of maths and music, however the main concepts are pretty simple. Beethoven used distance and patterns to help him compose music. This allowed him to see what notes and rhythms would sound nice together and which ones wouldn’t. The idea of this fascinates me, someone who is losing his hearing still capable of creating such famous pieces of music by the application of mathematics. This again just proves to me, how maths can be applied in numerous ways!

It’s Everywhere!

As I have said before, my views on maths weren’t exactly the best. I saw it as a hard subject that only ‘maths people’ were good at. When I think of maths, I instantly picture a desk, a textbook and puzzled faces. It has always been about answering set questions and getting them wrong or right. I have never shown an interest towards the subject, until this module, as it has opened maths up to me in a different way.

The endless variation in workshops, from counter intuitive maths to music and maths, has taught me how varied maths actually is and all the different aspects of the subject. Before I was very closed minded, however, now I realise how often we actually use maths subconsciously. It’s everywhere! Maths is so much more than equations, it is decision making, problem solving and so much more.

I use maths daily without even thinking about it, I will set an alarm for waking up, calculate how much I’m spending on my lunch, calculate how much I will get in my wage for the month and what I can and can’t spend, look at train timetables for making my way to uni and the list is endless. I can complete all these tasks successfully, therefore I’m good at maths? So it isn’t equations, but it still involves an element of maths and the ability to add up and calculate. I had never saw it in this way before. I was always the first to complain about maths and say how awful I am at it, but that was close minded and stereotyped maths. I can now recognise I am good at maths because I use it daily. This is something I want to portray as a teacher, and show my pupils that maths isn’t just about the equations, it is about all the daily interactions we make with it and how we use it to help us.

Netball with a Twist

I have never considered in depth the mathematical concepts that underpin sports. The scoring is about the only maths I can think of. However when given the task to create a new sport or update an existing one, I found that maths was key to making the game more challenging and exciting.

Our table looked at netball and how we could make some changes to make the game more intense and exciting to watch. The first observation we made was about the scoring, and how high the scoreboards can reach. It is a lot easier to score a goal in netball than it is in football, and the difference between the scores is never big. Compare this to a game of football were a score of 2-1 can be incredibly tense near the end of match, and in netball this difference can easily be equalled by the score of another goal within 2 minutes. Basically, scoring in netball is a lot easier to achieve compared to football and this is something we wanted to change.

Firstly, to make it harder to score points quickly, we made the length of the court bigger. This means that players will have to travel further in order to reach the nets to be able to score. Secondly we changed the layout of the hoops. We added in an extra two hoops and positioned them at different heights, to give players the opportunity to score more or less points when shooting through particular hoops. This adds more challenge into the game and will force players to make split second decisions on the court as to which hoop they are going to aim for. Lastly, we introduced a rule that meant you have to defend on the goal side. This means that players can’t immediately go to their goal, they have to take it up the court before coming back down and scoring. This will increase the challenge posed to the players and make scoring a lot more intense.

These applications of maths, length, height and position all helped us to improve the game and make it more intense to watch. This has made me realise that maths can be applied in any situation and can improve it on many occasions. Maths is everywhere!

Beans! Beans! Beans!

Today’s input was all about logistics and supply chain maths. We paired ourselves up and became the managers of our own stores. We were given a budget and a list of products, then told to choose 5 items we wanted to purchase and sell in our shop for the summer, autumn, winter and spring periods. We had to think about what would sell the best and how much of it to buy, we also had to take into consideration the sell by date of these items and how long they would last for. This was harder than you would think and we made a few mistakes buying certain items.

However, after the first round of purchasing, Beth and I discovered one simple trick that made us thousands.  The way to make money was to look at how much you were buying the product for and then how much you were selling it for. The bigger the increase the better. This was were our love for beans began. The beans were being sold for eight times higher the price than they were being bought for , which meant for a good profit. In addition, our beans would last and so any that weren’t sold could be taken over to our next season, therefore we weren’t losing money. By using this method we saw our profit doubling each time.

Not only did we have to calculate the basic sums of how much we were spending, how much was in the bank and how money we lost, we also had to use our initiative and look at what the best selling rate was. This input gave me an insight into how important the application of maths is in the retail industry, as small decisions can be costly for the business. In conclusion, just buy beans!

Can Animals Count?

There are similarities between humans and animals, yes, but do they have the ability to count? I would have originally said not a chance, however after today’s input I’m not so sure.

We looked at various examples of animals “counting” the first being Clever Hans. Clever Hans was around in the 1900’s, he was a horse that could supposedly do simple mathematics, like counting and square roots. His owner would ask him a question for example 1 + 1, and Clever Hans would answer the question by in this case tapping his hoof twice. The initial idea of this is incredible, an animal working out basic maths! When you dig deeper however things are what they seem. The owner of the horse, Wihelm von Osten, would perform these tricks with his horse in front of crowds in public and amaze them. It was after a formal investigation by psychologist Oskar Pfungst that revealed the horse was not actually performing these tricks, instead he was reacting to the observers around him. This showed a fault in this experiment, as there were no variables to prove the horses tricks. Although on the outside it looks like this horse can count, with a little deeper dig it shows that he can’t technically count. I do wonder if the horse does have a sense of maths, by being able to tap his foot twice?

Another example we looked at was chimps counting and remembering sequences of numbers. The video showed chimps counting up to nine, touching the right order of numbers on screen. It then showed the chimps being shown numbers on a screen and then disappearing. They then had to remember where the numbers were and count in order. Humans then did the same test and actually did considerably worse than the chimps! The video was pretty impressive and after having a go as a class, it revealed how hard the test is, so for chimps to be able to complete it was fascinating! One explanation, however, could be that the reward of peanuts means more to chimps than humans. The chimp still had a concept of numbers and the sequence, so therefore it can count?

Finally, another example of animals counting is the chicks. The scientists conducting the experiment had two screens, and some plastic balls attached to string. They would move the balls behind the screens as the chickens watched from inside a clear box. Once there was 3 balls behind one screen and 2 behind the other, the chicks were released and each time the experiment was conducted, the chicks would go to the screen that had the most balls behind it. This showed that the chicks were able to count how many balls went behind each screen and then remember which one had the most. This is related to instinct, as chicks will also follow the larger group when they are first born. However this experiment shows that these untrained, young chicks had an awareness of numbers and counting.

So, even though not all the experiments were valid as a result of some influencing factors, I believe that overall animals have an awareness of numbers and to a certain extent, the ability to count. I knew animals were clever but I wouldn’t of agreed with anyone that told me they could count until now.

Counter Intuitive Maths – The Monty Hall Problem

I found the concept of counter intuitive maths very interesting as it applies to many situations I have faced, like sitting a multiple choice test. Counterintuitive is something that goes against what you believe to be right based on common sense or logic. Learning about the psychology and thinking process behind it has been interesting as I have found myself thinking the same when carrying out a quiz or making a decision. An example of counter intuitive maths would be taking a multiple choice test. You decide that the answer is A but then you have a moment of doubt and second guess your answer, as you think it might be B. The majority of people won’t change their answer. This is because if you change your answer and then get it incorrect it has more of a negative impact on you than if you stick with your answer and get it incorrect. There is too much of a risk and so people stick with the safe option. I am in the same boat and tend not to change my answer if I doubt myself, however, is this the mathematically correct thing to do?

We looked at The Monty Hall Problem to test this and the results are pretty fascinating. If I think about this too much my brain hurts, but when I look at the basic principle of the concept I understand the Monty hall problem. I am applying my knowledge of fundamental maths to understand this.

Pretend you are on a game show, there are three doors, behind once is a brand new car, behind the other two are goats. You pick a door, and then the host opens one door revealing a goat. He then gives you the chance to change to the other door. If you stick with your original door there is a 1/3 chance you will pick the car, however, if you change to the other door, you are giving yourself a 2/3 chance of winning the car. This picture explains It more clearly.

You are not guaranteed to win the car by changing your answer however you are increasing your chances from around 33% to around 66%. Therefore, you have a better chance of winning the car by changing your answer. This has made me re-evaluate my thought process and I will now be making sure I go with my second answer to increase my chances of success.