Social Studies Elective Portfolio Post

In MA4 it is essential that a module is selected for you to study alongside your studies. I chose the module of social studies. Within this module we have learned many things, one of which I found particularly interesting was the use of the thematic approach when teaching social studies. When discussing the thematic approach to social studies one theme that stuck out to me was refugee immigration.

Upon reading I began to see that in order to make learning engaging for the children the learning had to be made relevant. I began to think how I could possibly make refugee immigration relevant to children, particularly in the early years when many had not so much as even moved house yet.  I was perplexed and unsure of how I could possibly make the theme of immigration and refugees relevant to the life of a child.  I decided to put this to the back of my mind and leave it until I was really pressed and had to make a connection. So I went about my daily life, watching tv, swimming, going to the gym and doing the food shop. It was here in the supermarket that I had my moment.

On the shelves sat a small tin suitcase, to begin I just thought it looked interesting. I looked a little closer the suitcase had the loveliest bear on it saying “all the way from Darkest Peru”.

“PADDINGTON BEAR”- I exclaimed to passersby.

I was met with blank faces, but here I knew that I could make a connection between refugee immigration with a childhood story of Paddington bear.

Paddington bear was a story that captured the imagination of many and was the story of a little bear who was sent from the darkest part of Peru where it was unsafe for him to stay and he travelled very far to London by boat. I thought about how I could take this concept of immigration and apply it to the story of Paddington Bear. I began to think of how I could use this concept in lessons. I feel this would best work in the early years as the Paddington Bear story is directed at this age group, however, I would be open to trying this with upper stages of primary school as an introductory lesson.

Lesson one would need to consist of the children learning about immigration, the teacher to begin would need to assess the level of knowledge the children already had. After a clear understanding immigration was made, the story of Paddington Bear could be read to the children. The next lesson would consist of the children learning about where Paddington came from and his home country and why did he have to move. A drama activity of hot seating, letting the children take on the role of Paddington could be used here. The children could ask Paddington the following questions…

  • How do you feel about moving?
  • What was your home like?
  • Why did you have to move?
  • What was the journey like?
  • Why did you come to London?
  • What was your transport like?
  • Was anyone else in the boat with you?
  • Were you scared?
  • Why did your Aunt stay in Peru but made you travel to London?
  • Why couldn’t you just stay at home?

Once the children have completed drama activities and all children have had a chance within their peers or groups to take on the role of Paddington Bear the children could complete a number of activities surrounding Paddington Bear from the questions they have asked.

They could explore his home land, and why it was not safe for him there anymore. They could discuss how hard they feel the journey would have been by a small boat and finally the children could research all the things we have in the United Kingdom that would make Paddington want to choose to live here.

Thereafter, the children could be read an article on refugees immigrating to the United Kingdom, one of which many children will have heard about is the Syrian Refugees. They could compare the article to the story of Paddington Bear and complete a similar exercise like hot seating and role play to embody the role of a refugee.

This is a clear way in which a connection can be made for the child to understand what a refugee is and why this cause immigration. It also helps the children understand why in the United Kingdom we are a very privileged country.

To conclude, this small artefact of a children’s story we have begun to see how this can develop into a series of social studies lessons that provide knowledge and understanding of many concepts within social studies.

Knowledge of appropriate materials and resources for teaching mathematics and science

Information in this piece has been taken from Mathematics and Science in Preschool: Policy and Practice by Kimberly Brenneman, Judi Stevenson-Boyd and Ellen C. Frede ; unless otherwise specified,

Through play children begin to learn and explore many things for example when a child is presented with a jack-in-the-box-type toy, and the mechanism that causes the doll to spring from the box is clear, children stop playing with the jack-in-the-box as soon as a new toy is presented. However, when it is unclear exactly how the first toy works, they continue to explore it, even when a new toy is available. This shows that appropriate materials within mathematics and science caneven be in the form of a toy, therefore showing that the two are everywhere.

Curriculum and Classroom Practices:

Mathmatics- a space to provide thikning and reasoning. Thinking about numbers and investagations.A quality curriculum supports skills that relate to later achievement. For mathematics, it provides experiences that not only encourage thinking and reasoning about numbers but support investigations into size, quantity, properties of objects, patterns, space, and measurement. Preschoolers learn mathematics through concrete experiences with materials and through intentional interactions by their teachers to extend their thinking.44 In most high-quality preschool programs, mathematical thinking and reasoning are encouraged as children engage in activities such as counting, measuring, constructing with blocks, playing board and card games, and engaging in dramatic play, music, and art.45 By providing children with an environment that is mathematically rich, teachers lay the foundation for their students’ future success at learning school mathematics

The Use Of Media In Classrooms.

Derek Robertson, is what I would describe as a digital ambassador for Dundee University; he provides the inputs for digital technology teaching in the primary school; as well as many other things on our course.

Today in our input we were shown how to use Google Maps in the classroom in order to engage children. Whilst although children are described as “digital natives”, this does not mean that we do not need to teach children how to use other aspects of the internet to learn.

We can use digital media in order to explore and destroy subject boundaries. You can make Google maps, to enhance there learning and tell there digital stories.

For example, I decided that I would imagine myself teaching a topic work class on the local area of Dundee and the children’s connections to the area. I made an example, online for my self and my own area and how I made connections to my local area, for example I added my parents homes as pins as well as my high school and primary school.


The children could also make this part of there weekend diary by pinning where they went at the weekend.  For example as explained here, I could map that at the weekend I went to the Discovery. I could pin this as “My weekend at the Discovery”, if I was a classroom teacher I would probably ask the children to date this so I could then go on and look at this. From here I can then add a picture by Google searching this on the same page so its easily accessible for all.


From here the children could then write what the did at the weekend in detail and use this as an online weekend diary.


I truly believe that rather than the children having to write there weekend diary’s quickly which are sometimes a pointless Monday morning task by exploring this through Google Maps and using this in Dundee’s local topic work that this will captive the children. Hopefully to the point where they are using this to pin there holidays on maps to different countries and that will also incorporate geography into there learning informally.

I truly believe that just with this one Google mapping task that children can do so much with this. Additionally, as a class teacher I will be able to become an activist for using digital media in the classroom.

If any one truly find this interesting please do not hesitate to contact me asking for more information on this topic.

Also my good friend and colleague Fionnaigh Ewing has also written a blog post on this topic and I would love if you would like to take a look.

Religious and moral education elective!

For my elective moduel I have selected religious and moral education.

This first week we have been asked to look over three key religions. Christianity, Judaism and Islam and identify the key similarities and differences between the three. I have chosen two areas in which I will compare the two, Jesus and salvation are topics in which I wish to discuss.

Primarily, Jesus in Christianity is the second of the holy trinity, the son born of the Virgin Mary sent down from heaven to relieve all of humanity of there sins. In Judaism, Jesus is originally a Jewish person not one of great importance. So these two relgions differ greatly in terms of Jesus. In terms of Islam Jesus is viewed in a similar way to both. He is thought to have been sent from Allah (God) and be bore by Mary yet not a Devine person.

The second way in which I shall compare the three religious is their view towards salvation. In Christianity salvation can be achieved by “by grace in faith through Jesus Christ” Ephesians 2-8:9. In Judaism, salvation can be achieved through the grace of God and good deeds get there is no alignment with Christianity in terms of atonement. Finally in terms of Islam salvation is achieved when personal righteousness outweighs personal sin.

As I am now aware there are some parallels to the religions yet some extreme differences.

Making paper Airplanes using Mathmatics and Science





After making the models we add the modules height, depth and other measurements into a spread sheet. This is therefore cross curricular learning with brining elements of ICT into the lesson.

When measuring the airplanes using the child’s mathematical skills- the child when then throw the airplane off of a high surface. This will then bring in elements of science as you can talk about gravity, up thrust and many different forces.


This talk of maths and science together in lessons shows how closely lessons of both can be linked together. Using such a easy and simple idea.

Core theories and principles related to the organisation of learning and teaching in mathematics and science

Constructivism and Learning Mathematics-“Math is a cumulative, vertically structured discipline. One learns math by building on the math that one has previously learned. That, of course, sounds like Constructivism.”

Perhaps this is a reason as to why children can learn more the older they get, because they have more previous knowledge than before. This is good for the childs progression in mathematics.

Situated Learning and Learning Mathematics-  very much the theory that mathematics is all problem solving that gets people involved if they are eager to solve a problem. Learning Theories

Here are some other theories on mathematics and science that I hope to look into.


  • Behaviorism
  • Piaget’s Developmental Theory
  • Neuroscience
  • Brain-Based Learning
  • Learning Styles
  • Multiple Intelligences
  • Right Brain/Left Brain
  • Thinking
  • Communities of Practice
  • Control Theory
  • Observational Learning
  • Vygotsky and Social Cognition

Knowledge of the progression of a selection of key concepts in mathematics and science

“Mathematics is important in our everyday life. It equips us with the skills we need to interpret and analyse information, simplify and solve problems, assess risk and make informed decisions.

The principles and practice document is essential reading for teachers as they start working with the experiences and outcomes for mathematics.” – Principles and practice

  Early First Second Third Fourth
 Patterns and relationships


I have spotted and explored patterns in my own and the wider environment and can copy and continue these and create my own patterns.MTH 0-13a I can continue and devise more involved repeating patterns or designs, using a variety of media.

MTH 1-13a


Through exploring number patterns, I can recognise and continue simple number sequences and can explain the rule I have applied.

MTH 1-13b

Having explored more complex number sequences, including well-known named number patterns, I can explain the rule used to generate the sequence, and apply it to extend the pattern.

MTH 2-13a

Having explored number sequences, I can establish the set of numbers generated by a given rule and determine a rule for a given sequence, expressing it using appropriate notation.

MTH 3-13a

Having explored how real-life situations can be modelled by number patterns, I can establish a number sequence to represent a physical or pictorial pattern, determine a general formula to describe the sequence, then use it to make evaluations and solve related problems.

MTH 4-13a


I have discussed ways to describe the slope of a line, can interpret the definition of gradient and can use it to make relevant calculations, interpreting my answer for the context of the problem.

MTH 4-13b


Having investigated the pattern of the coordinate points lying on a horizontal or vertical line, I can describe the pattern using a simple equation.

MTH 4-13c


I can use a given formula to generate points lying on a straight line, plot them to create a graphical representation then use this to answer related questions.

MTH 4-13d



As we can see in terms of pattern progression is developed through at early stages being able to understand your own patterns, to eventually in the second stage exploring more complex patterns. This then moves onto the late stages were you can see the progress and the child should now be able to generate points lying on a straight line and plot them, this is all the progression of pattern.

Dialogue on Early Childhood Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education

First Experiences in Science, Mathematics, and Technology

Science in Early Childhood: Developing and Acquiring Fundamental Concepts and Skills

Karen K. Lind

As any scientist knows, the best way to learn science is to do science.

” As we watch children in their everyday activities at various stages of development, we can observe them constructing and using concepts such as

  • one-to-one correspondence—putting pegs in pegboard holes or passing one apple to each child at the table;
  • counting—counting the pennies from the penny bank or the number of straws needed for every child at the table;
  • classifying—placing square shapes in one pile and round shapes in another or putting cars in one garage and trucks in another; and
  • measuring—pouring sand, water, rice, or other materials from one container to another.”


overall this is a few ideas I have had on the progession of math and science in children.