Monthly Archives: February 2016

Scientific Literacy TDT

Scientific literacy is a term that is used to describe someone who can understand science. A more elaborate explanation of that is someone whom has the capacity to use scientific knowledge, to be able to identify questions about science and to draw evidence-based conclusions from science experiments (OECD, 2003). The European Commission (1995) elaborated further ‘Clearly this does not mean turning everyone into a scientific expert, but enabling them to fulfil an enlightened role in making choices.’ This means that scientific literacy is not about everyone being able to understand everything to do with science, it is more about being able to understand a little bit of science to question and develop the world around you. Scientific literacy is having the ability to describe, explain and predict natural phenomena. It means that you can read, with understanding, articles about science and engage in social conversations about the validity of the conclusions to experiments that are written about (National Science Education Standards, page 22).

There are four types of scientific literacy and these are nominal scientific literacy, functional scientific literacy, conceptual scientific literacy and multidimensional scientific literacy. These all show a different kind of understanding towards science. Nominal scientific literacy is where the person recognises the vocabulary but does not have a clear understanding of it or they have misconceptions. Functional scientific literacy is where a person can describe the concepts of science but they cannot use the correct vocabulary and they do not understand fully what they are saying. Conceptual scientific literacy is where the person has a greater understanding or a concept and they can explain it. This person will also have a better understanding of enquiry and design in science. Lastly, there is multidimensional scientific literacy which is when the person fully understands concepts in a wider context. They can also make connections between science philosophy, history and practical applications of science.

According to Jarman and McClune (2007) without scientific literacy there would be an increase in inaccurate or misleading information, which can often result in media scares. Cases in which this has been apparent include the swine flu epidemic, and quite possibly the most known being the MMR vaccination scare.

Deer (2011) states in 1998, Andrew Wakefield, a medical researcher published that the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination was linked to colitis and autism spectrum disorders. Despite this being false, it was credited as a reliable source, and people became reluctant to allow their child the vaccine and it wasn’t long before controversial articles were published in newspapers, further damaging the reputation of this vaccination.

Deer (2011) also highlighted, that it was later in 2004 that an investigation into Wakefield’s research paper was put in place and it was found that the original paper was fraudulent. The scientific consensus is that MMR is in no way linked to the development of autism. Due to this media scare, there was a great decrease in the amount of children receiving this vaccination, and therefore a rise in cases of measles. Many still refrain from this vaccination despite it being proven that its benefits hugely outweigh its risks.

Fair testing in school science links to scientific literacy as it involves recognising and communicating questions that can be investigated scientifically and knowing what is involved in such investigations. It also includes identifying or recognising evidence needed in a scientific investigation. For example, what things should be compared, what valuables should be changed or controlled, or what action should be taken so that relevant data can be collected. This is essential for ensuring that the data collected is accurate. For example, taking the example that is used on the PowerPoint. The children should be able to recognise that it is going to be an unfair test as one driver involves a man on a motorbike, whilst the other driver is a small child on a go-kart. The children will therefore identify that the man on the motorbike will have no problem in winning the race. Children should also be able to recognise what should be altered so that the race would be deemed as fair. In this case, both the vehicle and age of the person leads to an unfair test. This skill is key to a child’s scientific literacy and is therefore pivotal to teach. The children can also learn from their mistakes. If the experiment does not go the way that they had predicted, this gives them an opportunity to communicate and understand how the experiment went wrong and how they would be able to correct these mistakes. This in itself is scientific literacy.

European Commission (1995) White Paper on Education and Training Assessed 15th February 2016.

Deer, B. (2011) Exposed: Andrew Wakefield and The MMR-Autism Fraud. Available at: (Accessed: 15th Feb 2016).

Jarman, R. and McClune, B. (2007) Developing Scientific Literacy. England: Open University Press.

OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] (2003) The PISA 2003 Assessment Framework – Mathematics, Reading, Science and Problem Solving Knowledge and Skills. Paris: OECD.


Johnny, Abi, Leah, Rebecca

Music Fear

I love music in the classroom and I strongly believe children should be taught it. However, I have always dreaded the time that I will have to teach music to the children. I have no confidence in teaching music and I would not know where to start. I never have learnt to play a musical instrument because I was never be interested in it. I had always thought that to teach music you had to either have a good voice or play an instrument (how little did I know). The thought of teaching music gave me butterflies so going to my first workshop made me extremely nervous.

MusicLogoAs soon as we sat down our lecture said we do not need to play a musical instrument to teach music. I was so shocked but the more she went into it I could see that it was very true. She also said that everyone can play an instrument anyway, for example we all have voices, we all know how to play the tambourine and triangle. We also have our hands and feet to make a beat. This made me realise that this was all true. My confidence started to grow in music and the fear of teaching it began to drop.

As part of the workshop we were split into groups and had to produce music from an event in Harry Potter. At first I did not know where to start but once we got our event and instruments picked. We started to put it all together and ideas kept popping into my head. Each instrument could be used in the event. I was able to help with how many beats each instrument would play and when each instrument would come it. Working as a team really helped as ideas were mentioned that I had not thought of.

Our lecture covered sound pictures which is when pimusicctures are used to stimulate music. It involves the children deciding on characters they wish to include as a sound picture. The children then get into groups and prepare their sounds to go with the character. The children then perform there piece. This idea stimulated a lot if ideas in my head and how I could make this into a lesson.

It just goes to show that I was making an assumption about what music would be like and how I would not be able to teach it. I just got into the mind set that I was terrible at music and was not going to be good at teaching it. I am so glad that this workshop as proved me wrong and has changed my view on teaching music completely. I am now excited to get out into the primary school and deliver a music lesson.


Drama is something I was terrified to teach out in schools. However since having the workshops it has raised my confidence and now I feel I can teach it to primary pupils. There is so much to drama and so much you can do with the children. One of her TDT’s was to research various conventions. By doing this it has made me more aware of the skills the children can learn. It has also given me ideas of lessons I could plan for dram. The three I chose to focus on are: thought tracking, hot-seating and sculpting.

Thought tracking in drama helps inform the audience of a character. For example a character will step forward from a still image and say what there feeling. This convention can be used in class by getting the children to form a still image of a particular event. The teacher would then tap a child on the shoulder or ask them to step forward and ask how they are feeling or what they are thinking.

Hot-seating is another drama convention. Hot-seating is when you develop a character. If you are the hot-seat then you answer the questions from the people in your group while reaming in character. This could include the background, behaviour or feelihot seatngs of the character. This works best if you really know the character you are playing. The hot-seat could be given to an individual or groups of children. This convention can be used by using characters out of a novel that is being read in class. A child/children will be asked to sit on the hot-seat(s) and the other children will ask them questions. The child/children on the hot-seat(s) will reply to the questions while remaining in character. Questions might be prepared early. All the children will get a chance to be on the hot-seat. This activity would be more suitable for primary 5 upwards.

Sculpting is a bit like creating a still image, however a sculpture is made by either individuals or groups of people to convey meaning of something. This convention can be used in class by creatinsculptingg human statues. The children will be put into pairs and they will decide who is going to be the statue and who will be the sculptor. The statue will start as a curled up ball. The sculptor will gradually build up the ball into an interesting statue. The sculptor does not have to physically touch the statue. Once all the statues are made the sculptors will walk round and see everyone’s work. Then the children will swap over and repeat.