What makes an effective science lesson

Creating a science lesson

The sciences experiences and outcome are designed to stimulate the interest and motivation of children and young people and to support staff in planning challenging, engaging and enjoyable learning and teaching activities.

Lessons within science would be benefited with the use of collaborative working alongside working individually. By working in pairs, trios or to complete learning challenges as part of a larger group – doing this they are experiencing opportunities to discuss and reflect on ideas and their experiences. Effective community learning partnerships in turn enhance learning. Science lessons will often be created to help children develop as responsible citizens due to teachers making good use of current issues in sciences which were reported in a variety of media formats. These can be used by the children to develop and evaluate explanations of environmental, scientific and technological issues.

Lessons are best planned when children have an input in when choosing topics and this is best when they choose to study in-depth and open-ended investigations and projects which develop their higher-order thinking skills. To bring other skills of the curriculum into the lesson would be to include the use of ICT within science. This can be used to allow children to research topics and also analyze and present data.

It is said that learners were reported during lessons to have high levels of motivation and enjoyment when engaging with practical investigative work in order to solve a challenge. This is a positive within a science lesson as there are many opportunities present for children to engage in practical experiments to use as evidence in their research upon topics. While also use ICT to build an analytical understanding of the topic.

During any form of lesson whether that be science, literacy or physical education, learning outcomes and success criteria’s are to be presented to children to aid them within their learning experience. To be supported within their learning, discussion of these would help develop skills within talking and listening. Children often cannot identify or recognize their strengths, areas for development and next steps to improve their learning. By presenting well-created, topic focused learning outcomes and success criteria’s will allow children to see what their learning targets are and what their personal learning plan (dependent on their level of development) for the science lesson would be.

Science – Principles and Practice

Main Purposes of Learning in Science

  • Lessons in Science should cover a whole host of learning purposes. These include things like developing a curiosity and understanding of the environment they live in and can also stretch to things like the understanding of Earth’s resources and the need for the responsible/sustainable use of them. They should also cover the general purpose of creating ‘scientifically literate citizens’ with a lifelong passion for science and learning.

Useful Learning and Teaching Approaches

  • To ensure the content of the curriculum is delivered it is important to ensure lessons are high quality and stimulate the interest of the children. This can only be achieved by effective planning and the use of varied approaches. Development of varied techniques including problem solving, analytical skills, use of context to relate to young people’s previous experience. As well as this lesson should encourage collaborative learning (intertwined with communication skills) and independent thinking.
  • Teachers should use practical lessons to promote Inquiry and Investigative skills. This will give children the foundations of skills which will allow them to plan and design their own procedures and experiments. Further, the children should learn to observe, collect, measure and record evidence and then analyze

Planning for Progression

  • Teachers should recognise that any one investigation does not always require children and young people to develop the full range of skills that relate to it. Teachers should have in mind the expectations of say third and fourth level to be able to plan for progression if their are pupils in the class working at a higher level for example.

Support development of scientifically literate citizens

  • As well as the ‘sciencey’ part of lessons, pupils should be able to develop opinions on a number of issues and develop an awareness of social, moral and ethical views on science e.g. Fracking etc.

Health & Wellbeing – 3 lesson plans

Lesson one:

Experience and Outcome – HWB 1 – 30a – ‘By investigating the range of foods available I can discuss how the contribute to a healthy diet’

I would target this lesson at the lower level primary’s such as primary 2 and 3. I would do this as the level of this E&O is of the 1stlevel.

I would have the children complete this lesson at their desks, in the groups of their seating.

In advance of this lesson I would print out cards of the foods I will provide as well as unhealthy and healthy labels. I would also provide food to the class for identifying and tasting during lesson.

A plan for this lesson in order to meet this criterion would be to provide a range of common foods children will experience in their diets such as fruits, biscuits, yoghurts and crisps etc. all ranging from what we class as ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’. This then engages the children in a fun learning experience allowing them to taste the food and identify what it is and how often they like to eat it. As mentioned, in preparation for this lesson I would have printed out picture cards of the food which I have used as demonstrations. Once the foods have been cleared away from their desks, I would ask the children to work in their table groups to separate the cards into what they think would go in the healthy bubble and the unhealthy bubble. As a class we would then discuss our group decisions and discuss why decisions were made and where each food belonged regarding their health status.

Lesson two:

Experience and Outcome – HWB 2 – 30a – ‘By applying my knowledge and understanding of current healthy eating advice I can contribute to a healthy eating plan’

I would target this lesson at the upper levels within primary ranging from 5-7. I would do this as it is concentrating on a 2ndlevel outcome.

I would complete this lesson using the children’s desks as groupings with them moving around the classroom identifying nutrition levels within each group.

In advance of this lesson I would have held maths lessons surrounding weight (grams, millilitres etc.) For the lesson at hand I would provide examples of nutrition levels and provide and explanation on how they are read and examined.

For this lesson I would allow the children to bring in food packaging of foods of their choice. Once the children have all brought in their materials I would allocate groupings to desk such as healthy, in the middle, unhealthy. The children would then work in groups to read their nutrition labels and work out which desk their product belongs at. Once this activity is complete we will collate as a group on the carpet and discuss where the children put their products and why, while also identifying how they thought to place the product in that grouping.

Lesson three:

Experience and outcome – HWB 2- 32a – ‘I understand that people at different life stages have differing nutritional needs and that some people may eat or avoid certain foods’

I would also aim this lesson at the upper years within primary, probably a 6/7 class.

I would complete this lesson as a class discussion around the whiteboard and provide the children with a worksheet as a follow up activity.

In advance of this lesson I would find an online learning resource (interactive if possible) which helps explain the differences of conditions people can obtain and their requirements. I would also prepare a worksheet in advance for this lesson.

For this lesson I would group the children round the whiteboard and ask them questions to identify conditions evident in humans which are nutritionally affected. One we have collected a range of answers I would ask the children if they know what foods and why they affect a person obtaining these conditions. Hoping I could find an interactive activity I would allow the children to take turns and work collectively as a class to play the interactive activity which engages the learners in an important activity. Following from this discussion led lesson I would discuss the worksheet I had created for them and instruct them to complete this afterwards as a lesson finisher.

Reflection of Values Workshop

From participating in the values workshop surrounding inequalities, it became evident how we are so unaware of the impact. We can become so involved in our own personal situations we are unaware of those around us. This was highlighted throughout this workshop.

We started by being seated at 4 different tables with 8 peers. The task was then explained that we were to develop a material which would be useful to a new student at Dundee University. The lecturer then handed out 4 brown envelopes which she said contained our resources. We then proceeded to open our groups envelope to find very limited resources including 3 sheets of paper, an envelope, blu tack, paper clips and 3 pens. We then began brainstorming what would be useful for us as students and proceeded with this idea.

When presenting our idea, it was still not noticeable to our group that we had been provided a smaller amount of resources than other groups. It was only when the scoring and explanation was given at the end of the workshop did the method become clear.

The groups were so engrossed in their own situation, with their own resources and ideas. It was unknown that groups like ours were making our resources stretch to create our idea while others were overwhelmed with help and resources for their ideas. I feel that this task was carried out in a way to make us feel the impact of inequalities. I feel this is an important lesson and personally something I will remember and carry with me when working with children and young people. I will know to keep in mind that every individual has different upbringings and requirements and to not allow any individual to feel unequal due to this. That is the main lesson I learned from this workshop activity and feel it made a great impact.

What made my decision

What made my decision of career path was a school placement I attended in my 4th year of high school. Seeing the way the teacher worked with their students an dhow she influenced them inspired me to aim for the same. watching teachers in a variety of placements has shown me many different styles and methods, all of which having an influential impact on the children; even all the way down to their very first years of life. Seeing this in placement made me realize that primary education was the correct career path for me as I aim to be a person who influences out future children, even slightly, within their education.

When I was younger I always viewed myself as becoming a vet, then as I grew older I seen myself entering a hair and makeup career but as I entered my 4th year of high school and was given the opportunity of a weeks work experience, I decided to go work in my old primary school. Being in an environment which I knew well I felt comfortable and very welcomed which made the experience even better.

From enjoying this experience so much, when I entered into 5th year, I went to my guidance teacher to arrange a 6 month placement around my timetable. I then attended another local primary school 1 morning a week for 6 months of my 5th year. I arranged this purposely because I enjoyed the experience the previous so much that it was a though of pursuing this as a career but I wanted to see what it would be like working in a school for a longer period of time. By working in a different class I experienced another form of teaching and bonded well with both the teacher and pupil. I was given advice on how to pursue this as a career and the responsibilities and qualities within the job, all of which appealed.

After receiving my grades from school, I was sure that this was the career path for me. That is when I decided to apply to college and try out a course focused primarily working with children. This included a placement in both primary and nursery, both of which I enjoyed and learned a vast amount from. The college course expanded my knowledge within the education sector teaching me about the Curriculum for Excellence, the impact learning has on children as early as nursey and the different ways of teaching and observing. By obtaining this knowledge this made placement enjoyable on another level. After having a successful year in this course, I decided to pursue this into a degree and go for it as a career path.



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Teacher, Lorraine Lapthorne conducts her class in the Grade Two room at the Drouin State School, Drouin, Victoria

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