Author Archives: Taylor MacInnes

Scientific Literacy

Scientific literacy is often misunderstood. It goes beyond knowing scientific words and filling in worksheets like most people think. It even goes beyond science as we think we know it, as it concerns more than the subject of science itself. People who are scientifically literate have specific skills that are necessary in understanding the world. Being able to distinguish between the truth and false statements, for example, the comments made by people in the media. Naivety is preventable through science. It enables the pupils to be more aware of the false claims thrown at them on a daily basis. Rather than just knowing scientific terms, scientific literacy is understanding concepts of science and developing skills to enable everyday successful learning. Through science, we can establish skills such as predicting, understanding, analysing, evaluating and observing. These skills are extremely valuable to help make important life choices.


People who are not scientifically literate can often fall victim to products that have false advertising. One popular example of this is diet fads such as the tea brand Bootea Teatox. This brand highlights that by drinking their special tea, over different time periods, you will experience weight loss results as you detox your body. It seems that many people already jump at the chance for a product that advertises it can influence weight loss however add some complex scientific language in the advertising and quickly the consumer falls into a false sense of confidence in that particular product. Unfortunately Bootea has left out a few important facts about their ingredients and how they can affect the consumer. The ingredients can actually interact with particular prescription medicines and cause them to fail. The side affects are negative and not highlighted clearly as the ingredients can cause vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea. It has also been researched that the product will only cause a loss in water weight and unlikely to perform in the way advertised. Therefore, Bootea consumers have been led to believe that they will undergo a detox experience when actually according to medical advice it could be affecting their health (Johnson, 2017).


Fair testing is a vital part of science in schools. A fair test can be carried out if one variable is changed in the experiment while keeping all other conditions the same. When we are teaching children all about fair testing in the classroom, they are learning and developing vital skills. They learn the importance of being fair in experiments and how this can lead to much more effective results. Linking back to the scientific skills, fair testing can allow children to make use of the skills that can make them scientifically literate such as predicting, observing and evaluating. In experiments, if all conditions are the same apart from one, it will be much easier to determine the effect each condition is having. Looking at fair testing in schools on a wider scale, it will allow the children to understand more deeply the underlying concepts of each experiment and the reasons behind why everything is happening. The skills that children learn in school can of course help them develop a conceptual understanding of what they are learning and be more successful. It can also help children be more successful outside of school and in their future when making important life decisions.  It is also important that the experiments link to science topics that are current and can be linked to everyday life. This is linked to the National Science Education Standards (p22) as it is stated that “Scientific literacy means that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences.”


Johnson, K. (2017). Diet Pills Watchdog | Bootea Review, Bootea Scam, Bootea Diet Tea. [online] Diet Pills Watchdog. Available at: [Accessed 1 Feb. 2017].

National academies press (no date). ‘National Science Education Standards 1996’. (p22). Available at: (Accessed 5th February 2017).


Megan Freeburn, Alex Allan, Liam Hamilton and Taylor MacInnes.



Why Teaching?

To me, if you can do one thing in your life to help someone it would be to help them through education. Being a leader, a mentor and a motivator is always something I feel comfortable doing and it’s always been my goal in life to inspire and develop children through their early years or primary education.

I’ve been dancing with a local ballet school in my hometown for fifteen years, and at the age of thirteen I was offered a wonderful opportunity to assist my ballet teacher in teaching her class.  The age of the children in these classes ranged from 2 -10.  This was a challenging yet rewarding experience to engage with children in an informal teaching environment.  The children seemed to engage with me and my dance teacher encouraged me to continue this and take it further.

After completing high school, I attended college in my hometown in which i completed a Higher National Certificate in Early Education and Childcare.  Throughout this course, I attended a placement two days a week in a nursery and a primary one class.  Before I started this course I had little experience of working within a primary classroom.  I was a little nervous when i started, however i knew that completing this placement would help me to identify if teaching was for me.  The primary one class had a totally different atmosphere from the nursery.  Being in a nursery environment where most of the day was revolved around free-flow play was enjoyable yet very busy.  However, I preferred the structure of the class day and appreciated the time and effort that the teacher had put into planning.  I enjoyed assisting the teacher throughout the day and helping the children complete their tasks.  The class teacher was absolutely brilliant at her job and inspired me further to become an excellent teacher.

I feel very passionately about learning to become a successful and professional primary educator.   I am very grateful for the opportunity that the University of Dundee has given me and I wish to cherish every moment and embrace the experiences that I will be taking part in over the next four years.